What standup comics can teach you about public speaking

Comedians are the ultimate public speakers. They know how to grab the audience’s attention and hold it—whether for an eight-minute set or a 90-minute show.

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So, how about those courageous folks who perform on stage? Some of them totally rock the show. Then there are those who can be so boring they actually have the audience wanting to die.

If you want to be one of those speakers that people rave about, scramble to get autographs from, and occasionally throw their underwear at while on stage (hey, it could happen), then it is time to learn from the masters—comedians.

Standup comics are the ultimate public speakers. Often they have to hold an audience’s attention for an hour or more. They don’t get a break during their talks, and they don’t get to lean on the audience for Q&A. They are expected to make the audience laugh constantly. And get this: They don’t even use PowerPoint.

2. Just say no to PowerPoint. How often do you see a comedian using the PowerPoint crutch? Pretty much never. Unless, of course, they are making fun of PowerPoint. Comedians know that the best pictures are the ones that you draw in people’s minds. They also know that they want the audience looking at them, not trying to read off a screen while they do their routine. Comedians use detailed descriptions, storytelling, body movement, voice tonality and changes, and props. (That microphone stand can serve a million purposes.)

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