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Two Female Comedians Walk Into A Bar And Reveal Their Secrets To Powerful Communications

“Humor can disarm, enlighten and create connection…and connection is the highest form of communication that exists.”

These pearls of wisdom, offered by female comedian Karith Foster, are the secret sauce shared by women in comedy. The founder of Inversity Solutions believes the same skills that make female comics successful on stage can also help women everywhere be better communicators, no matter what the platform. And that’s no joke!

Here are a few great tips from some of the comedy world’s best female performers:

Have a dialogue, not a monologue. It’s important to “break down the wall” and have a conversation, not a presentation, says Dena Blizzard, comedian and founder of Ladies OUT LOUD. Before you present, learn a bit about your audience and incorporate some local flavor, agrees Saranne Rothberg. “I write additional material unique to each population…it helps me connect on a deeper level,” says the founder of ComedyCures. She also observes the audience, paying apt attention to body language. A joke, story or anecdote that works in New York City may not be appropriate in other parts of the world.

Present like it’s the first time, every time. Audiences want to feel like they’re receiving fresh, authentic content. So even if you must give a presentation repeatedly, make sure each time feels like the first, recommends Judy Gold.  “It’s the same process as theater actors who do the same show eight times a week,” says the comedian, actress and producer. “Making a connection with an audience member is energizing. Multiplying that connection with 100, 1000, or 10,000 is electrifying,” says Rothberg. Remember, if you appear bored by your content, your audience will too.

Deliver your material with confidence. There is nothing more uncomfortable than sensing the unease of a presenter on stage. You want your audience to focus on your message, not your delivery. “You must nail the first minute and then your audience will relax and trust you,” says Rothberg. She recommends these tricks to success before you present.

·     Practice telling it at a rapid speed numerous times before the actual presentation

·     Say it in front of a mirror 

·     Sing it in your head 

·     Perform it for others and get feedback 

·     Include it in your presentation consistently and refine it after each delivery  

Have a safety close. As they say in gymnastics, make sure you stick the landing. Prepare your closing remarks so they flow off your tongue smoothly, convincingly and effectively no matter what the situation. If something happens in the room, you run out of time or you lose your train of thought, it shouldn’t matter. Your closing remarks may be what the audience remembers most.

Let the audience see behind your veil. To be believable, you must be authentic and vulnerable, says Foster. When the presenter shows that she is “real,” that’s when the magic happens. “When we allow room for vulnerability…we open the floodgates for incredible exchanges of ideas and dialogue.”

Be the best storyteller. “Stories are an effective way to communicate because they are the perfect combination of limited words and precisely placed details,” says Blizzard. Make sure your story is personal and authentic, says Zarna Garg, the comedian known as Funny Brown Mom, because then audience members see themselves in you. Connecting with the audience through stories makes people feel “less alone,” says Gold. And be sure to paint a picture with your words and bring audience members along for the ride.

Rediscover your funny bone. When appropriate, use humor to disarm your audience, says Gold. She explains that a joke itself is a buildup of tension and the punch line is the release. Successfully landing a joke can put your audience at ease and make ensuing communications flow more smoothly.

Pretend You’re Trying To Get To Carnegie Hall. In other words – practice, practice, practice – before any presentation, large or small. And then once you’ve mastered it, practice some more. “When you conceive a joke, you have to try out many, many versions until it lands just right,” says Garg.

We can learn a lot about effective communications from the ladies on the stage. “Humor is an excellent catalyst for bringing groups together and healing wounds with the power of laughter,” says Foster. She describes the belly laugh as “being kissed by an angel and drinking from the fountain of youth all at the same time.” If we start to think like a comedian, we may just begin to communicate a little better and laugh a lot more.

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