Better Presentation Skills Through Improv Comedy

Do you want to improve your presentation skills and be a great speaker? Then you should consider learning improvisational comedy!

I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t improvise my speeches. I write them out and memorize them.”

That may be the case, but there are three reasons you should still learn improv comedy:

1) You will definitely find yourself in situations where you have to give an unscripted speech. Maybe you get asked to speak on short notice, or for a presentation so small it is not wort scripting.
2) Things will go wrong, and you may have to go “off-script” and improvise.
3) Learning to improvise will absolutely 100% improve your scripted presentation skills!

If you’re unfamiliar, improv comedy is a form of theater where performers take the stage with nothing prepared in advance and make it up as you go along. Learning improv comedy can help your presentation skills in the following powerful ways:

1) You will be more authentic – The best bit of advice you can receive as a speaker is to “be more authentic.” Unfortunately, many people who suggest this never go on to explain *how* to be more authentic. Any competent improv instructor will not only stress the importance of being authentic when improvising, but will also take you through exercises designed to help you learn how.

2) You will develop natural movements – Many presentation skills coaches and instructors teach you to not move your arms at all, and to keep them at your side. They say that hand gestures are distracting. Not true! While excessive hand gestures may distract the audience, it is even more distracting to watch someone struggle to stay still who likes to move. The exercises in improv comedy can help you develop movements that are natural and don’t distract.

3) You will be funnier – Even if you are not a humorist, if you can make an audience laugh, or at least smile, you will be a success. It’s called improv *comedy* for a reason. By learning improv, you will develop you own natural sense of humor and learn to use it off the cuff, as needed.

4) You will be better able to connect with the audience – Improv is an interactive performance form. The audience is part of the show. As you become a better improviser, you will learn to work with the audience and automatically sense when they are with you and not.

Consider taking a class or joining an improv group. All major cities and many smaller ones have improv groups that put on shows and offer classes. If not, try checking in with local theaters – many of them offer classes in improvisation.

Not only will you improve your presentation skills, but you will also have a tremendous amount of fun!

All Time is Simultaneous – Past, Present and Future

Your past thoughts and actions have created your present and what you do in the present will create the future – positive, negative or neutral. Therefore, it is incumbent upon you to be aware of what you are thinking, doing and, thus, creating.

Practicing awareness moment to moment is the key to avoiding the anxiety that accompanies the worrying ahead syndrome or uncertainty. Although, you strive to predict or control the future, your power lies in the present. When you are apprehensive about the future, concentrating on what you can do now rather than what may occur will help you remain calm and collected. When you are grounded in the moment you will no longer feel that your life is a series of coincidences that you are helpless to influence.

Grounding yourself in the present is a matter of recognizing that your ability to influence anything is limited to the actions you take in the moment. Staying focused on the actions you take in each moment will bring about the future events you wish to create.

Grounding yourself will facilitate your decisiveness remaining in tact, allowing you to boldly choose the path you wish to take and banishing pessimistic thoughts. Then, you can participate fully in the richness of your journey in life, moment by moment – fully aware of each step you take. When you ground yourself in the present, your mind will cease to focus on ‘what if,’ ‘if only,’ and all the thoughts one could focus on when one is uncertain about the future, thus anxiousness and uncertainty will be a ono-issue. You will be empowered to positively influence what is transpiring in the moment.

Presenting a New Concept Or Innovation to The Status Quo

Without passion, a presentation can turn into the proverbial nightmare. Especially when you are presenting a new idea to a group that has always done things the same way, and isn’t really looking for any new way to do anything. Still, if you are an innovative and inventive type of person it is hard for you to be involved in a group that refuses to progress forward.

There is nothing wrong with you; the problem is within the stagnation of the status quo running the organization. So what can you do, you ask?

Well let me explain how to present a new concept or innovation to the status quo, and why your passion, energy, and strength of character is needed to see this through. First of all, you must realize there will be people in the group that are not interested in anything you say, they don’t even want to be there listening to a new idea. You must not dwell on this or spend your time looking at these people and trying to convince them, you can’t, and they won’t change.

Also, you should not spend your time talking to people who agree with you and looking them in the eyes while giving your presentation, they are already on board and all you need to do is smile at them once in a while when giving your presentation. They are already on your team and will vote if it comes down to a vote for your new concept or innovation.

The people you need to concentrate on are those people who are on the fence, who perhaps make up portions of the leadership of the organization, but also generally go along with the flow and the general consensus of the group. They can be your change-makers and it makes sense to gear your talk and presentation towards them. I hope you will consider this advice and good luck in presenting.