The day I ‘died’ on stage
When I started stand up comedy my stage name was Nessie Flange (don’t ask).
‘Nessie’ was a very posh lady, given to passing wild opinions – a sort of Hyacinth Bucket character. She wore a prim black suit and wedding hat. Nessie was funny and usually made her audience laugh. But then something horrible happened. Let’s just say there’s a gig somewhere I’ll never be invited back to. Why?
I ‘died’ on stage – in front of 80 people. Whatever I said elicited no response. In my prim black suit I was in effect, talking to myself…whilst everyone stared at me with increasing hostility. Can you imagine how that feels? To this day I shudder at the memory (I’m reaching for the biscuit tin as I type).
What went wrong?
It was a ‘working men’s’ audience – with hardly any women – and they had no way of connecting with the prim, posh character act on the stage. Did I know this before I went? No. So what’s the lesson here?
Research your audience! When you are giving a presentation observe your audience and your fellow business people.
Get a feel for those around you – the consequences of not doing so can be catastrophic. It’s always worth getting there early if you can. Look for the following
- With a business pitch or presentation, how are your audience reacting to the type of humour used previously in the room?
- Is there anything funny you can pick up on with regard to a comment from previous speaker or business person or audience member? If you can do this you’re more likely to get a laugh as your comment will be ‘spontaneous’.
At a recent networking meeting all attendees stood up and introduced themselves for 40 seconds. There were three hypnotherapists in a row. They all mentioned, obviously, that they were hypnotherapists.
The next person stood up and said “I’m Alan, and I’m NOT a hypnotherapist….”
Gentle simple humour, completely spontaneous and it got a lovely laugh. And what happens when people laugh with you? They can envisage enjoying working with you…..
So…..don’t forget, look around, observe your audience, what’s going on, and with a little planning you can be completely spontaneous.