How to be a funnier motivational speaker on stage
Okay, so technically friends can’t make you funny – but they can help you find what you already do that makes you funny. And often you can take that to the stage.
Let me give you an example.
I asked my mother to tell me the funniest thing that I do. She’s never seen my programs, so all she has to go on is me in real life. Without hesitating, she said the funniest thing I do is when I dance like those Solid Gold dancers from the old TV show. I actually wrote that down on my list of “things to try on stage” and waited for the opportunity to present itself, even though it’s better to plan instead of wait.
Not too much later, I was about to speak to a group of teacher assistants, and I knew I would be telling a story about wanting to dance as a kid, that would end with me saying that sometimes late at night I still dance in my room. “Wait!” I thought. “That’s a perfect opportunity for me to actually dance on stage.” So I planned to do a little silly dance in that moment. Nothing special. Just act it out.
It turns out they had an AV guy there who was playing music before my program. On a whim, I went up to him and asked what songs he had, and did he have something upbeat I could dance too. Since their conference theme was country/western, he had “Save a horse ride a cowboy” in his lineup. Perfect. I asked him if he would mind playing it about halfway through my program, when I gave him his cue – a simple nod from me. So he did.
And in that moment where I do my silly dance, the music played and I just let go. I didn’t worry about looking stupid. There were no scripted movements. I just did my silly dancing like I was at home with my extended family. The audience went wild.
Turns out we were videotaping that program, so we caught the moment on video, and it turned out to be my best demo clip to date. It has gotten me business over and over and over.
So the lesson here? Well, there are many. But the main one is to ask your family and friends what you do that they find funny. Chances are very good that your audience will too.
(PS I just asked my sister what she thinks I do that is funny. She said it is hilarious when I run into big objects, like the refrigerator, on purpose. Hhhhhhmmmmm.)
Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, motivational speaker, Huffington Post Contributor, and cast member of The Fashion Hero television show airing on Amazon Prime. She is also the author of Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale, The Land of If Only, The Story Formula, and The Affirmation Journal for Positive Thinking. She was a featured entertainer for Holland America Cruise Lines, keynote speaker for the International Toastmasters Convention, and has keynoted major conferences and corporate events from coast to coast. She just launched her one-woman show Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale in theaters, and it is being booked all over the country. In July of 2022, she was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame.
Note: Articles by Kelly may contain affiliate links and may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on an affiliate link.