August 12th, 2014 GROUND SUPPORT: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better Speaker

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On Tuesday,August 12th, 2014 OLC attended an event in San Francisco at RocketSpace Labs that was presented by David in 7 Comedy habits to be a better speaker.

David Nihill was at RocketSpace Labs to tell us about 7 comedic ways to be a better presenter.

“FIrst things first, you can call me Dave or Irish Dave, which is my stage name,” David said.

1.    Create a story

You want to come up with a story that the audience can relate too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the funniest story ever, just something that they can relate to and bring them on your level. This helps set the tone for the rest of the presentation.

You also want to keep it fairly short. About a minute or so. Once you have your story written down, try and remove any extra words or things that are not important.

2.    Find the funny

Find the funny in the story. There has to be some sort of punch line or something funny about the story. The best thing is it doesn’t have to have happened to you. It could have happened to a friend, family member or someone else you say.

Use this story to link them to the topic in hand though. This is where it might get a bit trickier and harder to do.

You should also follow the standard joke structure which is: set-up, punchline and tag-lines.

Some quick writing tips provided by David:

Add attitude: weird, amazing, scary, stupid, crazy, nuts.

Also, write in the present tense.

Cut out extra words: ought, in my opinion, that, just, actually, truly, and very.

Keep things as simple as possible.

The Rule of 3 -  This relates to memory and joke structure. When describing something, describe it in three different ways. This helps the memory retain and understand the thing being described.

      3. Rehearsed Spontaneity

This is an obvious one, but practice, practice, practice. You want to practice your speaking as you wish to deliver it. If you practice and you’re walking around pacing on stage or standing in a certain way, this is what you are going to do on stage. This is something a bit harder to do as you tend to be mentally focused on the jokes or the audience, you must also be aware of your body language.

“Comedians tend to practice about 22 hours for every minute of comedy,” David said.

You also want to do your best to avoid going blank while on stage. Something you can do for this is draw the layout of something you are comfortable with, most likely your own house. Write down a joke or theme inside each part of the house so you can visually walk through your house and remember a story related to each room.

      4. Start Strong/First 30

This relates to the first and second step, you want to create a strong first impression and story. You need to grab the audiences attention within that first 30 seconds. This can make or break the respect and attention they give you for the rest of the show.

      5. Control the Audience

Controlling the audience might sound like one of the difficult parts. You can play the audience into your hands when you engage with them. You can ask questions in a specific way to get them to feed you an answer you’re looking for to make a joke out of it. This takes some practice and skill.

      6.  Never Run the Clock

A big no-no is running the clock.  Comedy clubs will be very unhappy with you even if you’re 30 seconds over your time limit. The show is usually on a tight schedule and any time ran over cuts into other peoples time.

So, make sure you practice and are very mindful of the time. Some pitch events and or investors will be quite worried about the time it took you to present during the meeting.

      7. Closing the book

Ending on a good note. Be sure when starting you know how you are going to start and end the presentation. The middle can be filled in and why practiced can still happen on the fly. The end of your presentation should be short but powerful and end the loop on your presentation.