And This Knowledge is Terrifying.
I know my job is to create something that is spontaneous and best of all hilariously funny. I know that I’m going to have to create impromptu jokes. But it’s hard. “What if I don’t have it today?” “What if I have a cold and just don’t feel funny? What then?” What if I am working at 7 a.m. EST…and my body feels like it’s 5 a.m. and I’m not able to find anything to laugh at?”
There are tons of techniques to get the audience to bond with you as a funny motivational speaker. But nothing is as powerful as customized, on-the-spot humor created about what’s happening right then. In that room. At the convention. At the hotel. And happily for me, this is something I’m both very good at…and I love to do.
I’ve definitely had times where it didn’t go as smooth as butter. But mostly things work out. Mostly through experience and a fairly high tolerance for feeling goofy in front of a live audience, I’m able to find things that are both funny, and help me to create an event. Not a “talk.”
Take my recent trip I took to San Diego. Please.
The main thing that was true for EVERY person in the audience is that we all had to walk a very long way from our hotel room to the convention center. And then it turns out that we had to walk to the very FAR end of a very large convention center. It was probably a half a mile or more, but felt further. And as I was headed to the sound check the night before I knew I had found a premise. A thing to joke about. A thing that all of us experienced.
Way further than any of us could have guessed.
Not easy to find either.
Many of the people would be in uncomfortable shoes.
Ok! I’ve got it. So the next morning I joked about this very premise. And lucky me…it worked and hit hard. They loved it.
My jokes weren’t perfect. And neither was my delivery. But what was more important for the audience was the fact that they knew I was talking right then, just for them, just for that morning. It was relevant. It was a shared experience. And therefore it helped the audience to start to trust me.