With the new year kicking into gear, I thought I share a little about why I have a new website and what’s prompted me on this new path of engaging with my clientele. I wanted to focus more on giving presentations. I’ve been conducting a one day business simulation for the past 20 years which is still a lot of fun but while I’ll continue to do that, I really enjoy standing up in front of an audience and “transferring information”.
My personal mission statement since I was about 25 years old was “to obtain information and pass it on.” What I’ve found, and I believe this is a good thing, is that I am not an outlier. Most things I find interesting are often interesting to other people as well. Thus, the stories I tell and the lessons I’ve learned tend to resonate with audiences.
In one form or another, I’m really talking about “information transfer”. That is, how people can better communicate with each to accomplish objectives or, in some cases, simply to get along with each other.
A fun presentation I give is titled “No One Has to be a Failure – You Can Always serve as a Bad Example!” Tips and tricks on Leadership and Effective Communication. The title of the presentation often makes people laugh which helps put them in a proper mindset for “information transfer”. In order for any business, non-profit or otherwise to succeed, their mission has to resonate with the people who can support that mission. That can be employees, customers, gift givers, or the executives who are charged with ensuring objectives are met.
Keeping it Short & Sweet Through Comedy
I tell relevant stories that can be used to initially capture an audience’s attention, and then to transfer information that will be of benefit to them in some way. The key is to make it short and memorable and useful.
At a binary level there are two types of speakers – content speakers and entertaining speakers. The concern about content speakers is that they won’t be entertaining. The concern about entertaining speakers is that there won’t be any real content. My bio shows I have various degrees and designations which helps in being considered for a content-driven presentation. However, I felt my bio needed to show that I could also be entertaining, funny if you will. As a result, I started doing standup comedy on open mic nights at various comedy clubs. I’ve learned so much from doing this. It was initially petrifying but, as with anything, the more I did it, the more comfortable I became doing it.
In standup, you need to “get to it”, as soon as possible. You don’t need to tell a lot of backstory because the audience doesn’t really care about that. Say something funny that makes them laugh. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Also, the audience gets to decide what’s funny, not the performer. Don’t blame them, just work harder with the feedback (silence) they give you. That mindset helped me in working with businesses. I’d always heard it but it didn’t always sink in. Find out what the client wants/needs, then address it. Standup comedy helped to clarify that for me.
There’s a saying in public speaking that “a good speaker will cause an audience to leave the room . . . mentally . . . “ That is, you said something that resonated with them and that they can use to help them in some way. I find that to be incredibly rewarding and worth pursuing.