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Stand-Up, Start-Up or Senior Executive? – Humour is the KEY to Audience engagement

Stand-Up, Start-Up or Senior Executive?

Business Presentations

I am back

Recently I attended an event where I met an old friend who I had not met in some 10 years.

Firstly, he told me of a tragic event in his life some time ago. And then to my amazement, he spoke about how my articles in some small way had been a comfort to him.

His comments surprise me, as I view my articles as a contribution to a business audience, and nothing more. So, it is with renewed vigour and enthusiasm that I start back writing after a longer break than planned over the Christmas holidays

Best Christmas present in years

Let me tell you about the Christmas present I gave to myself. A long-time friend of mine, Mark Donovan, suggested I looked at enrolling in a comedy course entitled, You Talk Funny”.  After speaking to the creator of the program Ciaran McMahon, his philosophy impressed me and I decided to give it a go.

We are under way

I am now two weeks into a six-week program, where me and my fellow class members on the final night will deliver a short comedy showcase to a live audience.  The rough plan is that with the support of Ciaran and my fellow delegates, we will develop one minute of comedy material each week.

Similarities between Stand-up and Business presentations

My initial observation is how similar the advice Ciaran is providing to our little group is to the advice I would provide to my clients when presenting to a business audience.

Good Advice

One of the first pieces of advice I give to my clients is that the audience must be allowed to get to know and like you early on. This is best done by revealing a little about yourself.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Where are you from
  • Your background


Do not alienate part of your audience

The other key message Ciaran provides advice on is about the audience, you must appeal to both genders.  Blue humour may work in the locker room but is not suitable if you wish to have a broad appeal.

The same rule applies to leaders and managers. You need to win the support and cooperation of everybody in your audience (organization) in this day and age, bullying is no longer a career path to travel.

Take your audience on a journey

The other aspect that stands out at this early stage is the critical importance of having a path (structure) that you take your audience gently along, bringing them to a final High Point (message) of your story.

Practice – Practice – Practice

If you think your favourite comedian or speaker is doing what they do off the top of their head (ad-lib) you are mistaken. With the great performers, everything is practiced, even the ad-libs. Yes, the very best can make it to another level with their ability to be flexible and deviate from the chosen path briefly, for that killer Interjection. To get to this level takes a lot of practice.

Be open to new influences

So far, so good. I’m having a great time and have become much more aware and open to new influences and issues that could provide opportunities to add humour to the presentations I deliver on a weekly basis.

As I regularly tell my clients, get your audience laughing along with you early in your presentation and you are much more likely to get and hold their attention for longer.


MY GOAL – An invitation

I am now setting a bold goal for myself, so I cannot duck out BEFORE THE END.

Once the date and venue for the Graduation Event is booked, I will be sending an invite to you to come along and have a laugh with me and at me.

P.S.  A lot of crude language now appears to be an integral part of comedy, so be prepared to be shocked, but not by me.

If you would like to improve your business communication skills and maybe be a little more humorous, why not enrol on my next open presentation skills programme on the 18th and 25th of February. Click the image below for details.