Become Better and Funnier at Public Speaking

Quick, easy & fun steps to enliven your presentation skills with proven techniques from the world of stand-up comedy.
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  • Lectures 70
  • Length 3.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 1/2014 English

Course Description

Learn 7 Comedy Habits to be better at public speaking, consistently funnier and help rid the world of boring presentations!

This courses teachings, as referenced in Inc, Forbes, Fast Company, Lifehacker and featured by Prezi as one of the 5 best online training courses for presenters, outlines easy to apply steps from the world of standup comedy to improve your presentation and public speaking skills, using one of the most powerful tools available to us: Laughter.

What students are saying about it:

"This course was engaging, entertaining and filled with great speaking tips. I loved it! Thank you! It was like reading a great book, I couldn't turn it off."

"The course is awesome! Hands down the best collection and presentation of resources I have found on public speaking (not normally the most exciting topic, but here it most certainly is!). Highly recommended."

“This course is great. I haven’t taken it yet but David drew a picture when he was 6 years old of a penguin drinking beer in a Chinese restaurant and it was clear the potential for slight wisdom and misguided creativity were there.” —Marita Nihill, David’s Mother

Top business speakers are using humor.

They are developing laugh lines using the same process as comedians.

You don't need to be a natural comedian to get laughs.

We de-construct the process from standup comedy into 7 Habits and show you how to translate them into public speaking skills for the world of business. These 7 Comedic Habits are aimed at helping you deliver a more memorable, entertaining and engaging presentation, every time.

Whether you are a seasoned presenter or someone with a real fear of public speaking (like me!) these easy to apply steps will help you stand out from the crowd. These techniques are being applied by numerous TED talks, start-ups, entrepreneurs, keynotes, interviewees and professional speakers to further engage their audiences and we take you through how to do the same.

There are step by step assignments following each section that will help you develop your comedic writing styles and delivery methods. This is further supplemented with engaging viewing material from a number of TED talks and business presenters on the covered areas. This includes an impromptu performance by Robin Williams and video of my own jokes at some of California's top comedy clubs highlighting the techniques covered in the course.

Most presentations are really boring. With application of these habits yours will not be!

These techniques will your make presentations more engaging and entertaining by:

  1. Teaching you stand-up techniques that work in public speaking contexts.
  2. Teaching you how to replicate the techniques being used by top TED speakers.
  3. Showing you how to craft your key message into a memorable and humorous story.
  4. Showing you to extract the funny and build it into joke structures through comedy writing techniques
  5. Preparing you to test these jokes and stories on live audiences
  6. Showing you techniques used by comedians to overcome stage fright and improve your delivery
  7. Instructing you on how to open and close strong, make a great and funny first impression while getting laughs every time
  8. Teaching you how to evaluate performances and identify which comedic elements should be added to your presentations
  9. Teaching you how to manage an audience and hold their interest

What are the requirements?

  • A good sense of humor

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Identify and understand stand-up techniques that work in public speaking contexts
  • Know how to replicate the techniques being used by top TED speakers to get laughs and increase engagement
  • Know how to craft and tell an engaging ( and funny!) story
  • Start and end presentations using stand-up techniques.
  • Learn effective memory techniques that will make sure you don't go blank on stage
  • Know how to craft a memorable story around your product/service
  • Learn how to hold an audience's interest
  • Know best techniques for overcoming fear of public speaking
  • Stand out from the crowd by making people laugh
  • Develop a file of tried and tested jokes/stories to insert into presentations
  • Learn how to deal with the audience in a presentation or talk.
  • Learn how to systematically write funny and effective jokes
  • Know to recover from a joke falling flat

Who is the target audience?

  • Anyone who wants to improve their public speaking slills
  • Professionals who want to make their presentations more entertaining
  • Marketing and Advertising professionals looking to add humor to their messaging
  • Start-Up companies who want to stand out from the crowd
  • Entrepreneurs looking to get a competitive advantage
  • Sales professionals looking to hone their humor skills
  • Anyone who wants to be consistently funnier
  • Those who want to overcome a fear of public speaking
  • Those interested in stand up comedy
  • Those who want to fastrack the often lenghty learning process involved in Standup Comedy
  • Those who want to learn a new skill
  • Students looking to stand out from their peers through comedy
  • Anyone regularly making presentations

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Introduction 1
Section 1: Welcome Overview
Adding Some Quick Humor with Seth and Amy
Ken Robinson and Moving the Humor Needle
Structure and Exercise Introduction
Section 2: Comedy Habit #1: Start with Story
Comedy Habit #1: Start With Story
How to Craft a Great Story
How Long Can Your Story Be?
Exercise: Start Your Funny Story File
2 pages
Section 3: Comedy Habit #2: Add Humor - Finding the Funny

This example shows how just like comedians the final product of business speakers comes from a work in progress, delivered multiple times to find the best format. In the example show we analyze an early version business presentation to extract the key funny part from a story. This something the presenter himself did overtime with experience. We however, want to do it quicker.

Are Some Topics Too Serious for Humor? 2 Great Examples
Exercise: Identify the Funny
1 page
Topic Linkage
Exercise: Link Stories to Topics
4 pages
Section 4: Comedy Habit #3: Write Funny
Comedy Habit #3: Write Funny Intorduction
Comedy Writing Techniques: Introducing Joke Structure

AJ Jacobs is one of my favourite conference speakers. Watch him here using joke structure. If you go through his talks over the years you will see him building these jokes and really perfecting their delivery. The main joke here is great. The tagline not so much but you will find the most important part is the main punchline. The taglines are often continuously experimented with.

Brevity is Levity
Add Attitude, Present Tense and Local References
Delay Funny
Obama, The Rule of 3 and Delaying the Funny
The Rule of 3 Explained
Rule of 3 in TED talks with 3 Examples
Exercise: Link Topics to Presentation
2 pages

This joke would be equally at home on a stand up comedy stage. It one of the many many examples out there of top speakers in the business world using comedy techniques. Some are aware of it. Others learn it by trial and error. All are however well aware of which parts of their presentation get the best laughs.

Back to Ken Robinson
The Joke Funnel: Getting Funny Fast
Exercise: Watch this storied start and set up statement example
Section 5: Extra Easy Laughs with Images and Compare and Contrast
Use Funny Images and Jill's Example

A humorous look at social media and business, sales, marketing, and customer service. Brian Carter makes great use of funny images throughout and great set-ups throughout.

Exercise: Use Image and Video In Your Next Talk
1 page

In this lecture we look at an easy way to generate comedic set up, through comparing and contrasting items.This is where you link your topic to similar items relatable to the audience on a general level. We see a quick and effectetive example by Apple's Roger Rosner.


This is a quick example of one of my Compare and Contrast jokes based on an almost David and Goliath scenario. Ireland's performance in the London Olympics vs the USA's. We were just behind China (a long way behind) and in front of Azerbaijan for those curious.

Watch Comedy Techniques here with this great example
Exercise: Compare and Contrast
2 pages
Section 6: Comedy Habit # 4: Delivery
Comedy Habit # 4: Delivery (and the Memory Palace Introduction)
Memory Palace Exercise Intro
Exercise: Watch This TED Talk on the Memory Palace
1 page

This is an example of my memory palace from a recent comedy show.

Cut The Fluff
Start Strong with great TED Talk example
Exercise: Develop an Opening Line
1 page
Body Language and Getting Away From That Poduim
Never end on Q&A with Hilarious Mic Drop Example

This joke is not very funny when written out in words alone. Add act out however, hand gestures and stepping forward to emphasise the key laugh lines and you have a joke that gets a great laugh from the crowd.

Delivery Extras and Robin Williams Example
My Funny Story Example
Moth Story
Review: Techniques we have learned as used in my story
3 pages
Section 7: Comedy Habit #5: Rehearsed Spontaneity
Comedy Habit #5: Rehearsed Spontaneity
Same Premise Moth and TED example
Never Run The Clock
Chasing The Funny with a Great Example

This is taken from an author talk I did recently at Google HQ. It is a good example of the feeling you get when you know there is more funny and laughter in the moment from the live audience so you go after it. The bit is the same as I had in this course earlier but the delivery here a bit more in the moment. Please excuse the bad audio quality. You would expect Google to be good with tech, but oh no! :)

Exercise: Hone Your Stories and Build a Set List
2 pages
Exercise: Watch this TED Talk- A great example of humor, story & delivery
Audience Time
Exercise: Spot Comedy Habits in Action
1 page
Some Tips on Stage Fright. (Feel free to skip if you feel good about this!)

Humanity's fine-tuned sense of fear served us well as a young species, giving us laser focus to avoid being eaten by competing beasts. But it's less wonderful when that same visceral, body-hijacking sense of fear kicks in in front of 20 folk-music fans at a Tuesday night open-mic. Palms sweat, hands shake, vision blurs, and the brain says RUN: it's stage fright. In this charming, tuneful little talk, Joe Kowan talks about how he conquered it.

Exercise: Practice Time
2 pages
Section 8: Comedy Habit #6: Control the Audience
Comedy Habit #6: Control the audience (and when not funny can be funny!)
Control the audience tips
Exercise: Start to Evaluate
2 pages
Section 9: Comedy Habit #7: Close the Book, But Not Fully
Habit #7: Close the Book
Note on Closing the Book
Pre Evaluation & Next Steps

In this lecture we look at effective ways to evaluate your performance using a scoring system to identify what works best, what needs work and what you should throw away. This system will highlight the most effective items to work into your presentations.

2 pages

Final Assignment

Section 10: Review
Laughing like a baby

This course has a lot of tips! Here are 80 of the best in a short guide that you can quickly scan before your next speaking gig.

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Instructor Biography

David Nihill, Bestselling Author, Speaker,Entrepreneur, Learning Fanatic

David is the author of the best-selling book Do You Talk Funny? and the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His work has been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The Irish Times, and Forbes.

He has performed standup comedy at leading clubs including Cobbs, the Comedy Store, the Improv, the Punchline and the Upright Citizens Brigade even though he strongly denies being a comedian and is well aware most people don't understand his accent. As a storyteller he finished runner up in NPR's the Moth's largest US story telling competition and has won multiple Moth Storyslam competitions. 

He works with San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley, General Assembly and the Nasdaq entrepreneurial center as a course instructor and his clients include top companies like LinkedIn, best-selling authors, TV personalities, CEO's, TED speakers and a penguin he once failed to make funny.  

A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School he calls San Francisco home when immigration officials permit, and was named on the 2017 Irish America 100 List, which recognizes the accomplishments of the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born leaders.

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