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

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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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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