I love stand-up comedy! The greats can find the funny where there typically isn’t any funny – often taking difficult, sometimes even tragic situations and making us laugh about them.
My Mount Rushmore of comics include Dave Attell, Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Richard Jeni, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Steven Wright, Norm Macdonald, Ellen DeGeneres, and Rodney Dangerfield. (Who are your favorites? Comment )
Styles make funny. I tend to like comics that are masterful with wordplay, a bit edgy, get to the punchline quickly, have great timing, and offer a unique style of delivery. Some create that unique style of delivery specifically for the stage – Gilbert Gottfried and Pee Wee Herman come to mind.
Relate some of these comedy stylings to public speaking at an event, business networking mixer, or even a best man speech. When a speaker isn’t engaging and doesn’t make the message relevant to the audience, they lose the audience.
“I think we just lost Utah.” -Dave Attell
Lately, I’m working with a lot of coaching clients on their public speaking skills, most often connected to their business networking.
Here are some approaches we discuss!
Start with Your Best Stuff
You don’t have to be funny. Just begin with something powerful – a quote, story, a “Did you know…”. Why is your message important to the audience? Don’t start with, “My name is…” (Attell always begins with jokes about the city he’s in.)
Don’t Read Your Presentation
Unless you’re quoting someone, don’t read your speaking points word for word. I notice this more and more during online networking events, and it takes away from the message, level of engagement, and your platform skills.
Eliminate Verbal Pauses and Ticks
“Like” and “so” are verbal pauses, “um” and “ah” are verbal ticks. Get feedback from others and replace verbal pauses and ticks with a breath.
Use a Basic 5-Point Outline
Look at your hand – your thumb is your opening (best stuff), pinky is your close (call to action, mentioned below), and your remaining fingers represent your 3-5 speaking points which should cover most short presentations. This way, your speech is always in the palm of your hand!
Share Stories that Relate to Your Audience
Open with the point of your story, tell your story, and then relate that story back to your audience. “I share this story because…” Just keep your stories brief and relatable. Everyone loves a good story if it’s told well.
Close with a Call to Action
Your second-best stuff! “Use these ideas to improve your follow up with your prospects and convert them into clients! Thank you.”
And… use these ideas the next time you want to feel more confident with your public speaking or your audience and create better engagement while having more fun!
That’s my time. Remember to tip your server on the way out.
Who are YOUR favorite comics and why?
You can Comment on my LinkedIn post