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Become a Better and Funnier Speaker

Lesson 3 of 15

Top Business Speakers Are Using Humor

David Nihill

Become a Better and Funnier Speaker

David Nihill

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Lesson Info

3. Top Business Speakers Are Using Humor


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 How To Watch This Class Duration:01:25
2 Class Introduction Duration:08:53
5 How To Replicate Top Talks Duration:13:41
7 How To Get Funny Fast Duration:19:40
9 Storytelling Tips Duration:18:04
11 Live Storytelling Critique Duration:27:12
12 Avoid Going Blank on Stage Duration:21:46
14 Managing Stage Fright Duration:11:08

Lesson Info

Top Business Speakers Are Using Humor

So what did I learn that applies to you guys? Well, really, Three Key Findings. That are these top business speakers were using humor. So everybody in the world of business that was standing out as a speaker, was funny. They were all using techniques well-known to comedians even though they didn't really know they were using them. And the really great thing for the 40% of the people in the room that weren't funny and I don't know about you guys online, you're probably all hilarious, hopefully, in the comments, in the chatroom we'll find that out. But a nice thing, there wasn't a need to be naturally funny to be a natural comedian. So I was out in a club not far from here in California one night, and I walked in and I start talking to this guy and he was the most awkward, strange individual, zero confidence, wouldn't look me in the eyes, wouldn't make eye contact, kinda disheveled looking. Looking at his feet, like, just zero confidence and seemed very strange to me. And in the middle o...

f the conversation, which he wasn't really saying anything anyway, he's like, "Sorry, I have to go on stage now. "I'm next." Got up to be a comedian. And I was thinking, this is the worst idea ever. Who told this man that he should be a comedian? It's gonna end so badly, I'm gonna get a beer and watch it. This is like watching a car crash. Let's go. Right? And he went up, literally, nice and slowly to the stage, super calculated and I remember it vividly, he walked up the stage and the only thing on there is a microphone and, cool as you like, just takes it, plonks it off to the side, stands there, and I'm like it's gonna end badly. Anything but. He annihilated it for 10 minutes. He had people doubling over with belly laughs and just walked off stage and went back to being a complete weirdo. (laughter) And literally puked in a trash can, snorted a bit of pizza, pretty much, and left on a skateboard. And I was like, I have no idea what I just witnessed but it was pretty amazing! And he was demonstrating what all these guys that I've met along the way, even if they were a bit unconventional about achieving it, they weren't all becoming famous for being funny, but they were all becoming funnier along the way. They were all becoming better writers along the way. So something was very clear in the progression of comedians; they become better writers. So if I told you guys you can learn to be funnier, you'd be like, "Oh, I don't know". But if I'm like, You're gonna become a better writer, you're like, "Well, of course. I'll just write a little bit every day." Most people share that opinion. So we're very much gonna approach this with the same technique. So we can definitely get a little bit funnier. We can do it in a lot of the writing styles really quick. This guy, I love as a speaker. How 'bout you guys? Anybody recognize him? Seth Godin. Very famed marketing speaker, best selling author, and he is very funny, definitely worth checking out. He's so funny that TED even describe him as funny. They describe his talks as hilarious. And the cool thing is when you watch him, they're so hilarious that he makes people laugh on average 3.4 times per minute. Now that doesn't seem like anything crazy, until you compared him to the funniest movies of all time. This guy, giving a business talk, actually makes people laugh more times than The Hangover and Airplane! The two funniest movies ever made. So you ought to just laugh, times per minute. Now obviously The Hangover's a bit different. It's much longer; it's a movie script. The laughs are probably bigger during The Hangover, but just per sheer number of laughs, this TED Talk will make you laugh more than all the funniest movies of all time, which is pretty wild. Imagine your friends, for entertainment on a Friday night, "What are we doing tonight?" "Oh yeah we're gonna check out this new TED Talk!" It's like, what's wrong with you? Actually in the Bay Area, that'd probably be acceptable, they'd be like, "Oh, yeah!" Oh, there's 500 people already going, it's gonna be amazing! In Ireland, nobody would be there. Not a chance. We'll be making fun of ya'. But it's pretty-- It's just crazy when you think about that, right? But the nice thing about this for us, so very quick. Tip #1 how you're gonna get funnier really rapidly and we're gonna give you guys loads of these. And every tip I mention, by the way, in this is available for download at the end. There's a link I'm gonna give you so if you don't wanna be taking notes at home, you're gonna burn through a couple of pens. I'm gonna recommend loads of books, loads of additional reading, loads of talks, linked everything is there. Don't worry about it whatsoever. If it helps you to take notes, work away. But you don't need to.

Class Description

Let’s just be real for a minute: most public speakers are boring. And aside from making your day a little less fun, dull presentations are bad for business.

Audiences have become conditioned to receiving information with a dose of entertainment, and that makes humor a critical tool for any professional communicator. We want our data with a punchline these days-- witness the success of The Daily Show or the stickiness of many of President Obama’s speeches for example.

It’s not just about getting some laughs to make yourself feel good; it’s about using humor to grab and hold your audience’s interest, making your message stickier and ultimately more persuasive. In a world full of bland, dull speakers, if you stand out, you win!

The good news is that humor is a skill, which means that it can be learned by anyone. The notion that we’re “born funny” couldn’t be more false: “being funny” is just a set of easily-replicated techniques (for example, the setup followed by the punchline) that anyone can pick up with a little practice.

Whether you are preparing for a business presentation, giving a wedding toast, defending your thesis, raising money from investors, this class will take you from nervous and sweaty to stage-ready.

Bestselling author, storyteller, occasional comedian, and Irishman, David Nihill will teach you:  

  • How top business speakers are using humor
  • One Sure Fire Way to Add Funny to any content
  • How To Replicate Top TED Talks
  • Basic Comedy Writing Techniques
  • Quick ways to get funny fast
  • How To Make Boring Things Funny (with guest Sarah Cooper)
  • Storytelling Tips that everyone can use
  • Advanced Comedy Writing Techniques
  • How to critique your own stories
  • Never go blank on stage with the memory palace technique
  • Content delivery tips for all levels
  • Manage stage fright  

As an added bonus, Sarah Cooper, a writer, comedian, and creator of the satirical blog, will be joining David to teach you how to make boring subjects more entertaining.

Learn more about David Nihill from his appearance on the “Profit, Power, Pursuit Podcast”!  



I always wondered why my favorite TED talks look so effortlessly off-the-cuff while commanding my undivided attention: Laughter. David's class taught me how "The end of laughter is followed by the height of listening." Applying stand-up comedy techniques to the art of storytelling makes information much easier to retain, and hence, easier to share with others. David handily makes the case for why the comedic structure is necessary and applicable in a variety of cases, ranging from business presentations to blog posts. After learning about the joke structure and funnel, I now hear/see them in action throughout my day. He also shares specific tips on how to "memorize" talking points while remaining totally flexible to last-minute time changes (e.g. "Your 20-minute talk just got chopped to 5 minutes. Go!") David covers specifically how to start your talk, end your talk, and where precisely to position your Q&A sessions to maximize audience reaction to the speaker. He supercharges this talk with so many actionable tricks and tips. Sarah Cooper makes a guest appearance sharing 4 tips that I found especially helpful for creating funny visuals. David's heartfelt honesty about the guts it takes to "get up on stage" - the vulnerability of it - really shines through. And now, I carry my "Funny File" with me at all times. This is a truly phenomenal class, both in content and delivery. Thank you for making me laugh, David and Sarah!

Kashif Rashid

Pretty brilliant. David is hilarious so he is definitely using his techniques. Its also easier to follow the class and want more when they are funny. I think most of the presenters on Creative live should be taking this class too . Make it funny so that learning becomes "fun"-ner

Philipp @PhotoAmmon Ammon

Brilliant lecture. David managed to keep me hooked, and I am pretty sure I will do so much better on whatever public speaking I have to do next As a photographer, I know this will help improve the way I look at talking about my work, and I think these kind of skills are vital to any artist. One little thing I didn't like about this was more of a technical issue. He uses videos as examples to the content he is teaching, but none of the CL links to the videos worked. I know its probably a copyright issue, but I would rather watch bad footage of the TV in the studio than nothing at all. Especially since I can't pause the talk and find the videos. Regardless, brilliant talk. Definitely watch it!