What is your greatest fear? According to many polls, public speaking ranks near the top for most people. Today’s guest, David Nihill was no exception. Public speaking caused him a tremendous amount of stress (and still does), but he determined that he was going to overcome the fear - and as he did, he documented every step and eventually put it into a book. As he started the journey into his greatest fear he noticed that stand up comedians are some of the best, most practiced public speakers there are, so he decided that he’d get his training on the stand up stage. David’s daring and transparent journey is the topic of conversation on this episode of Entrepreneur: Uncut.
In the entrepreneurial space we hear the 80/20 rule referenced all the time, but what does it really mean? Simply put, it refers to the observation that in most things 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. So boiled down in a practical sense it’s an admonition to discover what 20% of your work is bringing you the most results so that you can maximize your efforts around that 20%. David Nihill noticed that when it came to public speaking, stand up comedians were the ones who made the most of the 20%, so he began studying them to overcome his fear of public speaking. The insights he gained are many and apply directly to all kinds of opportunities you might have to speak, make presentations, or just become a better communicator in everyday life. In this episode you’ll get to hear David’s refreshing way of looking at public speaking and applying it to life.
David Nihill believes that great comedians are not great because they are funny. They are great because they know how to write. They understand how language works. They understand things like pacing, timing, tone of voice, and story flow. Those are all the tools of a writer and comedians always write their routines before they speak them. It’s that writing that enables them to hone their presentation, remove things that don’t lead them toward the ultimate goal of a gag or story, and walk off stage knowing that they’ve pleased their audience. The same applies to public speaking in business. Without a clear plan, put down on paper and crafted for maximum effect, your public speaking will lack the pop and memorability you want. You can hear David’s insights elaborated on this episode of Entrepreneur:Uncut, with Khierstyn Ross.
Stories in business presentations.
The human mind is geared toward stories. It’s why books, movies, and television shows have the allure that they do. We naturally track with stories and are drawn to engage with a good story more than any other form of communication. David Nihill learned that truth as he studied stand up comedians. His goal was to learn how to be a comedian so that he could overcome his fear of public speaking. What he found was that using stories as the basic component of any presentations - in comedy or business - was one of the most effective ways to communicate. In this conversation with Khierstyn Ross, David unpacks how to find your own personal stories, how to integrate them into good presentations, and how to make the link between the story and your topic in ways that are natural and impacting. You won’t want to miss this conversation.
David Nihill has discovered that the best way to improve his public speaking is by reviewing talks he’s already given. In his study of stand up comedians he noticed that many of them reviewed a video or audio of their act either immediately after they got off stage, or the next morning. Why? They were evaluating everything they did. In the spontaneity of the performance they often did or said things they didn’t plan but that actually added to the performance. They took note and added it to their outline for future performances. If they noticed distracting or unneeded things, it was scratched from the performance. David recommends that business people do the same thing… but most don’t. David’s got lots more to share about how you can improve your presentation skills through improving your presentations through rehearsed spontaneity, on this episode.
David’s book: Do You Talk Funny?
David’s website: http://www.7comedyhabits.com/