High-pressure situations and normal social interactions alike lend themselves to awkward pauses. When you don't know what else to do, make 'em laugh.
Picture: Gregory Gill/Flickr
As business blog Inc points out, making someone laugh is one of the best ways to break awkward tensions and get conversation (or presentations!) moving again. If something's going wrong, you can even turn that into a moment of levity for the sake of your audience, as Rob Brydon did during a presentation of the BAFTA awards:
There was silence. While waiting for the next award, Rob Brydon, the Welsh comedian host and BAFTA nominee himself, stood on stage for a few awkward minutes in silence until he finally said, "This is the nervous smile of a man waiting for the auto cue to work again." The silence was broken, and everyone laughed. The speeches could resume. Self-effacing humour at its best.
Of course, there are always moments where silence is not awkward, but in fact entirely appropriate (please don't try this at a funeral). But if your goal is for your audience or conversation partner to be light hearted, awkward moments are just opportunities for you to make someone laugh.