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The Art of Timing
Back in the 90s when I used to produce live television, the timing was critical. We had (in our case) EXACTLY 27 minutes and 30 seconds (or 57:30) to complete our show. No shorter, no longer. That meant that everything had to be timed out precisely and if we were heavy (long) or light (short) we would have to improvise quickly. We’d have to look for opportunities to adapt the show to fit the time, often on the fly.
Speaking of improvising, good comedians have long been known for their timing. Comedic timing, at its best, brings laughter and appreciation. At its worst, boos and heckling. Comedians have a tool known as a beat. It means when delivering a line, particularly a punch line, it’s important to wait for a beat…just a pause before delivering the line. It’s super subtle, but it works.
If I’ve learned anything in the past 20 years of running a company, it’s that timing really is everything. Have you ever had a day where the stars just align, and everything falls into place as it should? Contracts get signed, deadlines get met, and invoices get paid on time - it’s a lovely feeling!
But did you know that you can control your timing? Much like in the TV example above, if things are not lining up during a live production, you can improvise and adapt till they do. As a comedian, you can learn the art of timing (though to some it comes naturally).
Timing in business can be the same. Running a little light on contracts? Time to hit the bricks, connect with former clients and colleagues, make some cold calls (or emails, they’re easier), and find the next opportunities. Adapt and improvise.
People tell me all the time I’m lucky, and I am - to a certain extent. But the secret to all my good luck? Timing. I look for opportunities for the stars to align. I take calculated chances. All the while, I keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities. And I often take a beat before making a decision…just to make sure it’s the right one.
The truth is, you make your own luck, and you do it by mastering the art of timing. Try it and let me know how you make out!
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