Granted, I’m just a comedian who enjoys corporate speaking. But if I’m more effective at communicating your company’s message than your CEO - then maybe we need to talk. Of course there are tips and tricks that we comedians can teach you. But for now, let’s just have fun identifying some recognizably bad habits. Or, if you will, “Sharing Worst Practice.”
DON’T PICTURE US IN OUR UNDERWEAR
For those afraid of public speaking, the classic advice is “Just picture them in their underwear.” Or picture us on fire. Or picture us as dogs in sweaters. But DO picture us - meaning LOOK AT US. Simple eye contact is one of the most powerful tools we humans possess. It makes every monologue into a potential dialogue. But the default setting for many corporate speakers is: Just Put All Your Words in the PowerPoint and Read It Like a TelePrompter.
TRYING TO ESCAPE
Some speakers are like sharks: they have to keep moving to stay alive. The feet are like an engine to keep the mouth moving. Movement can be quite effective, but not if it’s a nervous tic. Some feet pace, some feet wander, and some feet seem to keep aiming for the door. Be careful, feet - or we might nail you to the floor.
KEEPING US IN THE DARK
Rule One in showbiz is: Find Your Light. Rule One in Corporate Speaking is apparently Find the Light and Stand Just Outside It. I’ve literally heard top management stop in the middle of a speech to say “It’s too bright” and move into the shadow so we can’t see them. Like a ghost is speaking.cAnd then there’s the PowerPoint Projector. Far too many corporate speakers see the projector and conclude: “Why not stand half in the beamer light? That way I’ll look like a disembodied head AND there will be bits of my slide in total shadow!” New Rule: Pretend the Projector is a Deadly Laser Beam. Every part of your head that gets hit by that beam will be sliced off. Because it should be.