I recently came across an article from the National Post called What Comedians Can Teach You About Public Speaking by Rick Spence and I wanted to share it with you.
The article brings up some good (and funny) points based off another recent article written by Mike Michalowicz (author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur):
1. Tell humbling personal stories. (Stories that present you as an Ms or Mr. Average are more likely to win the support of your audience.)
2. Say no to PowerPoint. (Comedians don’t use slides, why should you?)
3. Gesticulation. (Use tone, pitch, facial gestures, and body movements to express your ideas.)
4. Laugh-cry-laugh. (Comedians play on the audience’s emotions.)
5. No lectern.
6. No notes. (“When was the last time you saw a comedian pull out a notecard to see what their next joke was?”)
7. The loop-back. (Many comedians wrap up their routines by referencing some jokes from early in their routine. In your close, refer back to your core messages.)
8. Know your audience. Some of the most cuddly TV hosts become foul-mouthed demons when performing in a seedy nightclub or at a midnight Vegas show. They have different acts for different venues. You too need to understand the different expectations of various audiences so you can give each group the authentic truths they’re looking for.
9. Use plain and comprehensible language. “Two bears walk into a bar” works on every level because it’s simple, conversational language, rooted in concepts that are easy to visualize. The simpler and more visual your messages, the more your audience will retain.
10. Leverage your feedback. Many comics hit their stride only when hecklers start giving them grief. That’s when the best comedians demonstrate their skill at improvisation and repartee; the audience enjoys the hecklers, but they’re rooting for the comics to squelch them with the perfect jibe. Welcome all feedback in your business presentations; an authoritative response to a question or complaint can cement your reputation as a thought leader.
And remember, it’s nice to know that even comedians – who seem confident, put together and knowledgeable on the topic at hand – get the jitters.