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4 things you can learn from stand up comedians about public speaking

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4 things you can learn from stand up comedians about public speaking

Stand up comedy seems to be so easy: you just enter the stage and start joking. There are no bullet point lists, no screens, no pauses – just the comedian speaking on and on, entertaining the audience.

Now it suddenly seems less easy, right? Well, the reality is stand up comedy is not easy at all, because you need to master a lot of skills, apart from having enough humor to make an entire audience laugh for two to three hours on end. Comedians know how to keep their audience engaged, which means you can learn a lot from these funny people about public speaking.

Learn their secrets and apply them in your daily life – you will be amazed to see how much your life will change.

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1. Work with emotions to bond with your audience

People crave to connect with other people, so take advantage of this and bond with your audience. If you watch a comedian starting his or her show, they will first share a humiliating story. Something that will make the audience supportive towards them, something that will make the audience identify with the person in front of them.

In your case, you can take advantage of the first minutes of a presentation or a meeting to share a relatable story, which will put you under your audience, but at the same time, they will relate to it. Something like a story on doing the dishes, which is something we all do.

2. Use your voice to paint an image in people’s minds

Comedians rely on their own voices to take their audiences to a different place, at a different time. They use very detailed descriptions and modulate their voice to be able to paint the image they want into their audience’s minds.

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They make sure they have a high quality microphone, which enables them to alter their voice tonality and switch from screaming to whispering. A comedian also uses the microphone as a prop.

What can you learn from this? You can use your voice to make the person in front of you imagine a completely different environment. You can use this secret when you have to convince an investor to put his money into your new project. This will work a lot better than trying to explain your project with PowerPoint drawings.

3. Body language is a powerful tool

Many comedians prefer to have a stand microphone, which gives them more freedom for gesticulation. A comedian relies a lot on body language to accompany the story and the jokes. A comedian’s gestures are always broad and take up a lot of space on the stage, filling it. This is because they have to be seen by the entire audience, but also because they are highly confident.

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You don’t have to exaggerate when you are speaking to an audience, but do use your body to complement your words. If you are not accustomed to having a microphone in your hand or standing in front of you, do practice with a similar tool, such as a broom for a standing microphone or a brush for a hand microphone.

4. Structure your speech

Comedians always pay attention to their speech’s structure, so they often return to a previous joke or mention, just before they close their show. This is intentional, as the audience is already familiar with the previous jokes, which makes them remember the speech easier. In daily life, you should use this technique to engage your audience and make sure they do remember your entire presentation, especially if it was a long one.

Next time you watch a comedian perform on stage, take a second look and try to discover his secrets, in order to put them to use in your own presentations and become a master of public speaking.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr/tie the ribbons via flickr.com

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