Use the Secrets of Comedy for Better Storytelling and Delivery in Your Talks with Carol Cox & Diane Diaz: Podcast Ep. 376

Use the Secrets of Comedy for Better Storytelling and Delivery in Your Talks

Subscribe to the podcast!

Integrating humor into your talks can seem daunting or even unimportant, but it’s an essential element to use to connect with your audience.

Recently, Diane Diaz, our lead speaking coach, delivered a 5-minute stand-up comedy set live on stage (!).

You don’t have to add jokes or stand-up routines to your presentations. 

But, you can learn from the secrets of comedy to improve your storytelling and delivery.

Diane and I talk about her experience and what you can take away from it for your speaking, including:

  • What makes something funny
  • Her process of writing the comedy set
  • The need for a single clear throughline
  • How she practiced the set by chunking it
  • Storytelling and audience engagement
  • The importance of timing, pausing, and vocal variation
  • Doing a comedy set vs. improv

Hopefully you’ll be inspired to try something new too!

 

 

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/376/ 

Video of Diane’s stand-up comedy set: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dianediaz_comedy-publicspeaking-personalgrowth-activity-7155204978867863552-gHre 

Resources: How to write a 5-minute comedy set and The New Comedy Bible

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/quiz/

Enroll in our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/ 

Connect on LinkedIn:

Related Podcast Episodes:

376-SYB-Comedy-Set.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

376-SYB-Comedy-Set.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
You’re going to learn the secrets of comedy for better storytelling and delivery. In your talks on this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies, and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience. Hi there and welcome to the Speaking Your Band podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox, a joined again today by our lead speaking coach, Diane Diaz. Hi, Diane. Hello, Carol. Well, we’re going to talk about the recent five minute stand up comedy set that you wrote, practiced and delivered live on stage in Orlando, where we live in January. I was there in the audience cheering you on. I also filmed it and you did an amazing job. And so we want to break down for the listeners today. How can we take the best of comedy so the secrets of great comedy, but have you all used that in your presentations and talks? So we know you’re not going to do a five minute stand up comedy set in the middle of your presentation? Of course you could if you really wanted to, but that’s probably not your goal.

Carol Cox:
But we’re going to help you, though, especially in storytelling and delivery. We talk a lot on this podcast about integrating more stories into your talks, kind of leading with stories, because that’s how you connect with your audience. We also do talk about incorporating humor into your talks, because it helps you to bond with your audience and the audience to bond with each other. Plus, it helps to to relieve tension. Maybe if you have more of a an emotional story or a story that kind of has that emotional resonance to it, and how can you incorporate humor and also just feel more comfortable in your delivery? Now, Diane, as we’re working with our clients, what are some of the things that you hear from them, especially around incorporating humor into their talks?

Diane Diaz:
The probably the biggest thing that I hear is, oh, I’m giving a serious talk. So there’s no I can’t be funny because I mean, of course, if you’re if you’re talking on a serious topic, maybe you’re sharing a story about an illness of a loved one or your own illness or something you’ve been through, and it doesn’t feel like it lends itself to humor, but there is a way to do it. So that’s probably the biggest thing. And then sometimes clients will say, well, I’m not really the funny person, so I don’t think it would be funny that comes up a lot as well.

Carol Cox:
And we have some strategies. For those of you listening who who you know, you’re never going to you’re never going to be a comedy person, right? That’s not your personality. And we want you to lean into your personality, who you naturally are. But there are things that you can do in your talks that will help with adding humor that feels like you as well, but that provides the benefit that comedy does. So we’ll we’ll mention that as well. The other thing that I hear a lot from our clients to Diane is that they either say like, well, I’ll be funny in the moment or kind of like things just kind of come up and I’ll be funny in the moment, which yes, definitely happens had that happens to me and I know it happens to you, Diane, all the time. So you can still do that in your talks. But we want you to also pre-plan a little bit of humor as well, especially during certain parts of your talk. The other thing that we hear is that they’re not sure how detailed to make their story. So what to keep, what to leave out, what’s going to have the most impact on the audience? Or how to tie things together, like how to how to tie it all together to make the stories make sense in their talks and where to include the story. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to dive into Diane’s experience writing and preparing for and delivering this five minute comedy set in the takeaways that you can leave with as speakers for your next presentation or talk that you’re giving. We’ll also going to talk about how Diane felt about delivering her comedy set versus the improv class that we took four years ago, and so we’re strong opinions.

Diane Diaz:
On that, everybody. Yeah.

Carol Cox:
Like, what are the benefits of each? And whether, you know, some people like one versus the other and why if you would like to work with us to develop your thought leadership and your signature talk, including how to integrate humor into it at the appropriate moments, we do all of this, plus the business of speaking in more in our Thought Leader Academy. We work with you over eight weeks, both one on one and in a small group. You can get all the details of speaking your brand.com slash academy. Again, that’s speaking your brand.com/academy. All right Diane let us dive in. So first, why in the world did you decide to do this in the first place?

Diane Diaz:
Temporary insanity I don’t know. Know you and I went to see this show, The Empowering Night of Laughter last year. And it was the same thing. Nine women comedians who are just regular people doing comedy sets. And we loved it. And then you said to me, you’re funny, you should do this. And I said, oh, I don’t know about that. And then you said, I’m going to sign you up. And I said, oh, don’t do that. So but then I started thinking about it, and about three weeks later, I think, is when I signed up, because I kind of did want to do it, but I just needed to I needed to talk myself into like, no, you can do this. So then I signed up and I wanted to do it because I personally love comedy so that it had that element, but also because I am a. Speaker, and I am a speaking coach, and I wanted to kind of practice what we preach, which is to get outside your comfort zone with regard to things that push you to feel more comfortable on stage and so on. And I wanted to experience that myself and also be able to share that experience like we’re doing right now on the podcast and with our clients. And I wanted myself to also get those benefits from it.

Carol Cox:
Yes. And I and I know that you love watching comedy because you’ll oftentimes tell me about comedy specials on Netflix that you’ve watched and you recommend them. We actually went to see Eliza Schlesinger yes, here in Orlando. What was that a year ago or some somewhere around there, right?

Diane Diaz:
I think so, yeah. Yeah, I think it was in February. Yeah.

Carol Cox:
So that was a lot of fun.

Diane Diaz:
Yes, yes. And I am obsessed with comedians. I watch comedy specials on Netflix. I’ve watched all of hers. I’ve listened to comedy podcasts, I listen to hers, but I listen to other comedians podcasts as well. I just love to laugh. And so I’m always I’m always attracted to anything comedian related, especially women comedians. I love.

Carol Cox:
And this is why I encourage you to sign up, because I wouldn’t just tell anyone that, like, I clearly know you had the interest and the ability to do a great job at it. Yeah. All right. So let’s talk about this. What makes something funny? Like obviously, you know, when we hear someone tell a joke or tell a story that has something funny, like we’ll laugh as the, as the receivers of listening to that, but what makes something funny?

Diane Diaz:
I think there’s a lot of things now, obviously I’m not a professional comedian, but I think what makes things funny is true stories that are just, you know, something that happens, happened to you in your life. So the comedies, my comedy set all revolved around my mother, who grew up during the depression as the child of immigrants from Italy. And so she was very thrifty. And so then she inflicted that upon us, my sister and I. So anything sort of true that also is relatable to the audience or if you’re whatever it has you have that’s relatable. So, for example, if you’re going through menopause, anyone in the audience going through that, or if you’re a parent, anyone who’s a parent. So things that are relatable, that are pulled from your true life experiences that you’ve had, mishaps that you’ve had, things like that, that I think all of those things someone in the audience can relate to and see a kernel of truth in for themselves as well and can identify with it. So I think that’s sort of generally what makes things funny. I think what doesn’t make things funny is like, if you’re making fun of other people or things like that, I don’t really like that type of humor. So I think that’s like sort of like, as comedians would say, kind of hacky. It’s like, well, that’s not really funny. It’s just you’re not even trying. But if you can find the humor in those everyday experiences, that’s the kind of stuff I love.

Carol Cox:
Yes. I so appreciate you saying that. It is true. There are definitely comedians out there who do make fun of other people or other groups of people, whether it’s punching up or punching down. I don’t like punching, period, whether it’s up or down. So that is definitely not, uh, the, the approach that we would take and I and I do and I like this idea of relatable experiences because, because it is kind of a mass audience. Right. Comedy is is for a mass audience, even though there are niches within it, but also that kernel of truth, because there has to be truth to what the comedians is saying, truth really about themselves and how they reacted to a situation or how they experienced something. Right? It’s not it’s not necessarily a truth. It’s a truth about the world. But really, it’s the truth about themselves.

Diane Diaz:
Exactly, exactly. And and the truth about yourself that in your like when I did the set, you can sort of blow it out a little bit, meaning make it a little bit of a bigger deal than it was or, you know, embellish it a little bit. Obviously you’re not lying, but to make it funny. Right. Because that’s where the humor is, is like, this thing was ridiculous. Let’s talk about that.

Carol Cox:
Well, and the ending of your comedy set was very much that. So we’ll share that at the end of this conversation, but we’ll include a link in the show notes. Diane posted her set her five minute set on LinkedIn. So we’ll include a link to Diane’s post so you can go watch the video after you listen to us here if you want to watch that. All right. So let’s talk about actually writing the set. So you only have five minutes, which it can be a lot of time but also not a lot of time. So how did you approach that.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, it’s really hard. I think for me, as someone who speaks more in what we’ll call the long form, so, you know, 45 minute talks, hour long talks to really condense it down. It’s it’s similar, I guess, in that like if you’re doing a Ted talk and you have to really make it tight but even tighter and. There’s not a lot of time to flesh out a story in a five minute set. You’ve got to. You’ve got to do like the ideal story ingredients. You’ve got to set the scene quickly. You’ve got to give them the goods quickly and then get to whatever the punchline is. So for me, honestly, once I signed up, I immediately started jotting down ideas, right, of like things that I could think of, and I don’t know why. My brain immediately went to things about my mother, I guess because the stories are so bananas that I was like, well, this would make good material. So I just immediately started jotting down these ideas and, you know, so, like looking through your life, whatever you’ve experienced or if you’re in some industry and there’s just crazy things about it, crazy, sort of like, I guess, stereotypes about your industry that was like, well, that’s what I experienced. So that’s how I found material is looking back in my experiences, my experiences I went through with my mom, things that happened when I was a kid, and that’s sort of what I pulled from. So that’s where I started as this huge list. And then I looked for common sort of themes. And that’s how, like when I looked through everything, I even had some stuff about me being over 50 and things like that. But the common, the biggest chunk of material that had commonalities was around my mom. So that’s how I kind of settled on. That’s what I’m going to talk about. And it’s super funny because, you know, she’s this little Italian lady and I just find a lot of humor in that. Right? So just her life was funny. And so that’s how I started putting the pieces together of what would end up being my five minute set.

Carol Cox:
And you mentioned about how everything needed to kind of connect together. So we think about the through line, and you need a really strong and clear through line for a talk, whether it’s a 45 minute talk and ten minute Ted talk or especially a five minute comedy set. So like you said, like how you may have all of these different stories or jokes or funny situations, and even though they’re all funny in and of of themselves, like you said, you’re not just stringing together joke funny story, joke, funny story over five minutes because they have to connect together.

Diane Diaz:
Yes, yes, I was looking for I think if you’re like, if you’re a comedian and you’re doing like a Netflix special, they don’t all necessarily have to connect together. But oftentimes the comedians will have the callback at the end. So like it does wrap back around itself. But everything in the middle might not necessarily connect. But in a five minute set, I mean, I’ll have time to do that, right? I have to really, really, it’s got to be super tight. So I sort of tried to tell a story through each point that I was sharing and, and literally paint a picture, which I feel like it did. I feel like I sort of set a scene and the audience could follow along with what I was sharing, and then to the culmination of that. So that’s that’s the strategy that I used.

Carol Cox:
Yes, I completely agree. And you did a great job at that. And I think about some of the other women who were on stage that night. And again, these are all amateurs, right? No one is a professional comedian. And a couple of the ones I remember is one woman. Her focus was on being short because she’s a four foot 11in, and all of the short women in the audience, I’m only five. Three were like, yes, we can talk about relatable experiences. We can totally relate. Yes. But her whole five minute set tied to that like that was her through line. She didn’t go off and start talking about something completely different.

Diane Diaz:
No, no, I love that. Yes, her I and I think even if you aren’t a short person, you probably know a short person. So you can easily everybody can easily connect to it in some way.

Carol Cox:
Well, one of the women so I a part of this dinner party project, a group of women, there’s eight of us and we meet every quarter for dinner. So I brought them all because they had heard about the event last year. So I’m like, okay, everyone, come support Diane and one of the women who’s part of that group. She’s very tall. She may be as close as six feet. And she was sitting behind me. And then we looked at each other and she laughed. She’s like, oh my gosh, I’m the one who always has to get the stuff on the top of the shelf for the short people.

Diane Diaz:
You see, everybody can relate to it and that’s that. The woman doing the short bit was talking about how her husband is so tall, so he lives a secret life. That’s above eye level for her. She doesn’t know what’s going on up there. So yeah. So even if you’re tall, you totally get it.

Carol Cox:
And so you see how memorable these things are, right? Because they’re stories and relatable experiences. All right. So okay, so you’re you’re kind of going through the different stories and experiences that you can share. You settle on the through line, you know, growing up with your mom, being thrifty and kind of like how that came about for different situations for you and your sister. So then, okay, so you’re kind of you have an idea of what your set is. Then how do you start practicing and going through it?

Diane Diaz:
Um, that’s a good question. So my, my strategy for that. Well, first of all, I’m the type of person that no matter what kind of a talk I’m giving, I don’t like to over practice. So I knew I knew I wasn’t going to really practice practice until closer to the date. And I think for some people that might not work. But for me, that’s what works, because I don’t like to get too much in my head about it and then freak myself out. And then I’m I’m a wreck. So. What I tried to do was craft my set, sort of like make an outline. And I used this resource, the gold, gold comedy. Com and it’s put together a five minute set. So it’s like a five minute set for beginners. And what she does is she kind of gives you an outline where it’s like, um, she says an opener, and then you’ve got chunks, like three chunks, and within each chunk there’s a bit. So I tried to sort of follow that outline loosely, and that’s what helped me kind of pull in the funny bits. So I sort of took my main, main little mini stories that I thought were funny and kind of plugged them into this and tried to see how I could flow it out.

Diane Diaz:
So it had a natural beginning and a natural end. And I started my my opener. One of the ideas is to be self-deprecating in the openers. So you make it about you, not about someone else. And then that gets the audience on your side, and then you start to lay out the other bits. Right. So my opener was where are all my thrifty folks? Well, I’m thrifty, but I can’t help myself. I get it from my mom. So then that launches me into the things about my mom. So that was the strategy that so so once I had that basic structure of it. Then I sort of said it out loud to myself, kind of see where I am timing wise, and then I’m like, okay, well, now it’s obviously not going to be five minutes over, but let me get the main jokes kind of fleshed out. And then once I started practicing, I could see where the timing was. So that was kind of how I went about that.

Carol Cox:
And then so so okay. So you managed to figure out okay, here’s where the five minutes is. Now. How did you remember it. Did you pretty much did you script it. Was it just an outline. But you repeated it enough that it kind of ended up. Was your final delivery? Do you feel like word wise was very close to what you had been practicing?

Diane Diaz:
Um, that is a great question. And so it’s so funny because I don’t find, I think that I’m someone with a not a good memory, but I found this to be really easy. So because I had that structure of the chunk bit bit bit chunk bit bit bit. Right. So I had that basic structure. What I did was I looked for the main idea of each sort of, let’s call it joke that I wanted to tell. And then I jotted down just a list. There was a list of eight things. And so they went like, um, I think it was so thrifty. And then cutting the grass, clipping coupons and then I think the candy. So like I remember I made the list. So, you know, clipping the grass, clipping the coupons candy. So I just literally just those words, I just made the list of those words, whatever the like main idea of each joke was. And I memorized the list. I just kept running, you know, clipping the grass, clipping coupons, candy, blah blah blah, blah blah. And I went through it a bunch of times until I had just that simple list memorized. Not every bit about the joke, because I knew I could fill in the details. I know the details. They’re my stories, right? I just memorized the order. That’s all I needed to do. And that technique I see can help with a talk where if you can memorize, if you can just make a simple list of 1 or 2 words that gets you the main idea of each component, memorize the order of that. You can easily go through it. So each time. Then I stood up and started delivering it to my wall here at home.

Carol Cox:
And your and your cat?

Diane Diaz:
My cat? Yes. Each time I did that, sometimes I’d have to search around, like up at the ceiling, like in my mind, right? Looking for what is the next thing. But once I kind of got into the flow of it because I knew the order, it was easy. And then it was easy for me to move from one point to the next. Because as I’m wrapping up the one point, I know what comes next. I’m thinking about what comes next. And so it was easy to keep moving, keep it flowing, not really have to stop. And I didn’t have to look at any notes because I knew the order of everything.

Carol Cox:
Yes, it reminds me that we are preparing for our three day in-person retreat that’s coming up at the end of February, and we’ve had some zoom sessions with the women who are going to be attending to help them kind of prepare what they want to practice, and then the speaking segments they want to film on day three. And a lot of them are nervous not to have slides because we encourage them, like slides just are not not really going to benefit you in this situation. Like it’s not really conducive to having, you know, the projector with the screen and the slides. And we really want you to get comfortable not having to rely on slides to get out of the expert trap and the teaching and training. And we tell them, like, you know your content, you know your stories. If I asked you to share a story or ask you to share something about what you do in the work that you do, you would be able to tell me. So in the same thing with kind of chunking it out, chunk out your talk like what are the 8 to 10 main parts of your talk? You know, this is the idea. This is the story I want to share. Maybe this is another part of my framework. This is a client example. And once you know that and you get comfortable with it, then you really can just take a look at those eight bullet points and go deliver your talk. That’s what Diane and I do this all the time.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. That literally is what made this so easy for me. I and I took a little like a little piece of paper that’s really just a page out of my tiny little notebook here. And I wrote down the eight things, and then I folded it so that it was all in one little spot like this. And then I would just carry it around with me wherever I was going. And then I would keep looking at it, looking at, and I put it in my pocket during the set, just as a just in case. But I didn’t need it because I knew, I mean, it’s only eight points. It’s easy to remember those eight points.

Carol Cox:
All right. So you’re practicing. You know, you’re you’re chunking it. You’re kind of memorize the, you know, the order based on these key words. So now you’re there on the stage and you’re delivering it. One thing that I noticed that you did a great job at, as well as the other women too, is acting out the stories, acting out the scenes. And we talk about this all the time. When you’re on stage and you’re telling a story, we, most of us naturally gesture like that is just what we humans do when we’re making points. And some of us are more gesture y than others. I know I am, but also like you will find if you don’t hold yourself back, that when you’re telling a story, you naturally want to act out the movements. It’s just like part of us being human. And I feel like so often we feel like that’s not acceptable or not appropriate, and we kind of hold ourselves back, but it’s actually the opposite. Embrace what you’re naturally want to do, but then practice also doing it. And Diane, I know you did that in your set, I did.

Diane Diaz:
And I even I made myself when I was practicing at home alone, go through it as if I’m in front of people telling these stories. So I literally acted it out at home. Because think about if you’re reading a book to a child and you’re saying, and then Goldilocks came in and she said this, and then the bear said this to her, that’s boring. But if you said and then the bear said, I’m.

Diane Diaz:
Gonna eat you, that’s.

Diane Diaz:
Like you’re and do your body like that. That’s funnier. And it’s more interesting. Right? So my stories aren’t even that funny to me. But when I started acting them out, I thought they were hilarious. And even my boyfriend, who’s heard these stories a zillion times, seeing me do the actions, like when I’m imitating my mom, bending over, cutting the grass and I put literally put my butt towards the audience, which I just think that’s funny because it’s ridiculous. So acting it out makes a huge difference. So I agree, when you when you get outside your comfort zone and you let yourself do that, the audience is going to be more on your side. They’re going to be more into the story that you’re telling or whatever you’re sharing and they’re supporting you. So you have to really be able to kind of get in there and do those actions that make it more interesting.

Carol Cox:
And along with the acting out the scenes and you did this and most of the other, I think maybe all the all of the other women comedians did is audience engagement, naturally, like you said, like who are all the my thrifty people or for all of you other, you know, short women out there or whatever, it happened to be kind of like you again, like we we oftentimes stop ourselves from doing what just seems natural and normal that we want to do, like ask the questions of the audience, see who else is in a similar situation as you.

Diane Diaz:
Yes, that’s a good point. And it’s funny because when I was on the stage, because the lights are in my face, I couldn’t really see anybody if they were nodding, gesturing. Now when I watched the video back and I can see some of the audience from behind, I see this one lady in the corner nodding at everything I’m saying because she’s relating to it. But while I’m up there, I can’t see it. But what I can sense is the laughter. So I know or or when I was explaining about my well, you’ll see when my mom with the toilet paper, um, and I heard a collective like, oh, so now I know I’ve got them, right? So you definitely have to get into it, act it out, let them be part of it, get them involved in it, because that’s when you know you’re you’re being successful.

Carol Cox:
The other big part of comedy. So we kind of have you obviously you have the material. So the content itself, the words you have the delivery of it, you’re acting it out, using your body. Timing, as we know, is also a huge component of comedy. So tell us a little bit about that, Diane.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah. So the timing is important. So first of all, the overall timing and that you only have five minutes. And that’s really hard to to cram in story and tell story and get laughs in five minutes. Very hard. So you have to know how to cut things and what to cut. That doesn’t take away from the integrity of the joke, so that you can still get people to laugh and doesn’t, and gives them enough information that they can get the context of it. So that’s that was really hard for me because I tend to be really long winded. And so I could go on and on about these things. So I had to figure that out. But also the timing sort of from joke to joke, because you and this is a reason why you want to make sure you’re cutting, because you don’t want to just ramble through it because it’s not funny when you just rush through saying funny things, that’s not funny at all. There’s has to be time when you can pause for emphasis. So when I was telling certain things like my mom would cut the grass with scissors, right? So I could really pause to give it emphasis. So that’s sort of the timing component of within the context of the overall time you have. And also from joke to joke. So you’re not just flying through it. And then the audience is like, what just happened? I don’t even know what to laugh at, you know? And you want to also give them time to laugh so that you can let them do that. And then you can. That energizes you.

Carol Cox:
Oh excellent point. Yes, about having those pauses, strategic pauses, but then also pauses when you are hearing a reaction from the audience and the pausing, like you just said. And my mom would cut the grass with scissors because now the audience is guessing. Yes, right. In those in that second or two in between, with the pause, they’re guessing like, what does she cut the lawn with right lawn mower? I was thinking like a lawn mower. But no, that was definitely not it.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah, yeah. And I think it also demonstrates my my feeling about how embarrassing it was as a child for her to do that. So when I’m saying it in a way that is like, oh, you guys, my mom, right. That I’m embarrassed by that as a child. So they’re kind of getting the whole all the feelings that are wrapped around that whole story.

Carol Cox:
Yeah, that was really good. All right. So let’s talk about then before we get into the comedy set versus the improv class. And you’re very strong feelings about that. How about. Nerves. Now, you told me beforehand that you were not nervous and that you that you, you know, loved the experience. So what would you say to to maybe to listeners who, you know, whether they’re doing speakings or they decide to sign up for a comedy set, maybe we’ve inspired them. What would you say about managing nerves?

Diane Diaz:
Yes.

Diane Diaz:
So I wasn’t nervous. Now, I’m sure part of that is because I am a speaker, so I already have a comfort level on stage. I never mind getting up in front of people, even if it’s impromptu. It doesn’t bother me. Um, now, I’ve never done anything like this before, so I guess if if I did say I had nerves, it was really just like, is anybody going to laugh at my jokes? And that I wanted them to? And so if they don’t, I’ll probably be crushed. So that that part maybe. Um, but one thing that I did and I always like to do this is whenever I’m doing something like this, that’s something new that I’ve never done before or something that’s particularly big. That’s maybe like, oh gosh, this is really like high stakes. So backstage for this event behind where nobody could see all these, all the comedians, if you looked down from the top, what you would have seen looked like a bunch of little ants running around, because we’re all wandering and pacing, mouthing. But you couldn’t hear us. We’re just like, you know, mouthing our sets, practicing them over and over. But we looked like zombies wandering around back there, and I think that helped get out the nerves, because instead of just standing in one place and saying it over and over and over, I’m moving, I’m moving, I’m moving. So I’m getting out the nervous energy. So I think that helped because again, anytime I’ve ever done anything nerve wracking or scary like that, when I move physically move, it helps so much. So that is one tip that I would give is to don’t just sit there and ruminate on it, like just move around, move around. So even if you’re giving a talk, you’re maybe you’re giving a Ted talk, you’re backstage, just wander around. Or you can even do jumping jacks or do something a little bit movement related. And it will shake out some of the energy, because nerves are really just energy and it will get rid of some of that.

Carol Cox:
Yeah. You just have adrenaline coursing. That’s all it is. And the adrenaline wants to get used up.

Diane Diaz:
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.

Carol Cox:
All right. Let’s talk about the comedy set versus the improv class. So as I said in the intro, and you’ve all probably heard in the podcast before, back at the beginning of 2020, Diane and I decided to sign up for this eight week improv class in person, and we finished right before the Covid lockdown started in March of 2020. We had our showcase and like we like to say it, we hated it. I don’t know, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. We loved it.

Carol Cox:
It was love hate. We hated it. Yeah, we also knew it was good for us. It’s like taking a medicine that tastes really bad, but you know, it’s going to be beneficial to you. And that’s how I felt now. Our instructor was fabulous, like I’ve known him for years. He was so good. The other people in the class were a lot of fun. We learned so much. We do improv at our in-person retreats because we know how beneficial it is to get out of our heads and into our bodies and learn like how to how to relate to our bodies when we’re performing or we’re on stage in front of people. And so, Diane, how did you feel about now, the improv class? Like, we had eight weeks, right? We had our showcase at the end. Obviously it’s not scripted, right? It’s not pre-planned. We’re not rehearsing lines or anything like that. We’re literally just acting things out on the stage. So it was less preparation compared to the comedy set. But how do you compare the two?

Diane Diaz:
Well, I found the comedy set to be so much easier for me, because I think the thing about the improv is, okay, so I can do consider myself to be a funny person. I am very funny in the moment, just randomly in life. Obviously, I can also to some degree write some jokes so I can be prepared. Funny, but what I can’t do is be randomly funny in a structured prepared setting where I have to play off of someone else’s funny that I wasn’t even thinking of. So that for me, trying to be in the moment with someone else and then think of something entertaining that played off of what they just said, I would just get completely locked up. So I don’t know. I mean, obviously that is a different skill set, but I don’t I don’t think I was very good at it and I didn’t it didn’t feel comfortable to me. And we did it for eight weeks. You would think after eight weeks it’d be like, I only did this. I mean, obviously I had a longer time to prepare, but I just did the one set and I literally could have gone on for another hour because it was just I loved it. But the the improv was very hard for me, very challenging.

Carol Cox:
And it was really challenging for me too. And I’m thinking back to the classes and again, they did a great job of kind of building from week to week. So we started with very simple activities and exercises, you know, improv games. And then we built to the more advanced ones as we went week by week. And it was really it was surprisingly, it was really hard. Of course, like we’re high achievers. We want to master things. We want to like we’re willing to try new things, but we also want to get good at it at some point, like it was not. I don’t know if we could ever get all that great at it.

Diane Diaz:
Yeah. You know.

Diane Diaz:
I think what it was now that I just I just occurred to me is that in the stand up set, I have total control over that. But in the improv, I don’t have total I only have control over how I’m going to. Yes. And somebody. But I don’t have control over what they do. So that’s kind of the difference. And I like to be in control, so I did that was really hard for me to like let it’s like letting go, which I’m obviously again, glad I did it because the, the value to not being able to be in control of everything, there’s certain obviously there’s lessons there. But that was, I think, why I enjoyed this so much more because it was totally mine. I totally my creation, my delivery, everything.

Carol Cox:
And not only were we not in control of what the other person or people on the stage are doing, which is fine, because like, you know, we all hands on, but you have to be funny at the same time. I think that’s the kicker. Like, like you said, like you have to like, understand what they’re doing, hear, like hear what they just did or what and then respond to it, not just in a way that quote unquote makes sense to the audience, but that is funny and entertaining. And there were some people in our group, in our class who they had done improv before. They had done acting classes before. I think that’s also where we’re just like, okay, this is clearly not our strong suit, right?

Diane Diaz:
No, some.

Diane Diaz:
Of the people in the improv class were incredible. And then that even made me feel like, oh gosh, this is I’m not good at this. They’re so good.

Carol Cox:
Well, I will still say this. And we tell this to all the women that we work with. Go do an improv class. Do it in person. I know during the pandemic, they did in virtual classes, you know, different improv groups, but do one in person. And even if you don’t feel like you ever could get that good at it, you will learn so much and it will truly transform how you feel as a speaker. I know that when I get up in front of a group of people, I feel so much more confident than I did before taking that improv class, and I had done a lot of speaking before that improv class.

Diane Diaz:
I 100% agree with that. And so I think anything like that that’s sort of outside your normal realm of how you what type of speaking you do, where it really pushes the limits of what you’re comfortable with is beneficial.

Carol Cox:
All right. So hopefully we’ve convinced you go do an improv class, maybe do a comedy set as well. That could be a lot of fun. Now, I mentioned also at the top that there are things that you can do in your presentations. Like, obviously you don’t have to tell dad jokes or mom jokes or like, you don’t have to have like a set in your. But there are ways to incorporate humor. Obviously, there can be funny parts of the story that you’re telling, or you can find a funny part of the story. You also can do funny GIFs, funny memes, funny video clips. I do that a lot in my presentations because even though I might be funny in the moment, I might also forget to be funny in the moment. So I will intersperse my slides with those funny memes or funny video clips again, to kind of lighten the mood and or as a transition from like one part of the talk to the other part of the talk. So those are also things that you can do. All right, Diane, well, thank you so much for coming on to share the secrets of comedy and how we can use them to be better speakers with our storytelling and with our delivery. If you would like to work with us on your thought leadership and your signature talk and to improve your speaking, check out our Thought Leader Academy at Speaking Your brand.com/academy. On the next episode, I’m celebrating the seven year anniversary of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I literally cannot believe that it’s been seven years. So I’m going to share how podcasting over these seven years has shaped my thought leadership in unexpected ways, including the book that I’m working on. Which which the book that I’m working on would not exist without this podcast. That is how much having a consistent content channel can really help you to develop, iterate through, and evolve your thought leadership. So I’m going to kind of take you behind the scenes and share that with you on the next episode. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you’d love including share transcripts, collaboration tools, powerful integrations and APIs, automated subtitles, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.

Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast!

Get the #1 Proven Lead Generation Tool for Speakers

Leave a Comment





Other podcast episodes you may like...

What Makes a Stand-Out Conference Speaking Proposal and Presentation with Cathy McPhillips: Podcast Ep. 388

What Makes a Stand-Out Conference Speaking Proposal and Presentation with Cathy McPhillips: Podcast Ep. 388

xr:d:DAEx0o1sBDM:52,j:1503500621181461359,t:24040817

Escaping the Ivory Tower: Stepping into Thought Leadership for Greater Impact with Laura McGuire, EdD: Podcast Ep. 387

The Power of the Performing Arts to Find and Use Your Voice with Theresa Smith-Levin: Podcast Ep. 386

The Power of the Performing Arts to Find and Use Your Voice with Theresa Smith-Levin: Podcast Ep. 386

How to Tackle a Big Global Issue in Your Thought Leadership and Talks with Neha Pathak, MD: Podcast Ep. 384

How to Tackle a Big Global Issue in Your Thought Leadership and Talks with Neha Pathak, MD: Podcast Ep. 384