Become Better and Funnier at Public Speaking
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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.
4.3 (536 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
10,798 students enrolled
Created by David Nihill
Last updated 3/2016
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $44 Original price: $95 Discount: 54% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 4 Articles
  • 14 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • 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
View Curriculum
  • A good sense of humor

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
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
Curriculum For This Course
70 Lectures
Introduction 1
1 Lecture 02:57
Welcome Overview
3 Lectures 09:33
Adding Some Quick Humor with Seth and Amy

Ken Robinson and Moving the Humor Needle

Structure and Exercise Introduction
Comedy Habit #1: Start with Story
4 Lectures 11:13
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
Comedy Habit #2: Add Humor - Finding the Funny
5 Lectures 11:38

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.

Comedy Habit #2: Add Humor - Finding the Funny

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
Comedy Habit #3: Write Funny
14 Lectures 29:00
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.

Joke Structure Example: AJ Jacobs 99U Conference

Brevity is Levity

Add Attitude, Present Tense and Local References

Delay 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.

Gary Vaynerchuk: A Quick Example From The Business World

Back to Ken Robinson

The Joke Funnel: Getting Funny Fast

Exercise: Watch this storied start and set up statement example
Extra Easy Laughs with Images and Compare and Contrast
7 Lectures 19:11
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: Watch This Talk With Some Great Funny Image Use

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.

Compare and Contrast

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.

My Compare and Contrast Quick Joke Example

Watch Comedy Techniques here with this great example

Exercise: Compare and Contrast
2 pages
Comedy Habit # 4: Delivery
14 Lectures 42:58

Memory Palace Exercise Intro

Exercise: Watch This TED Talk on the Memory Palace

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

Exercise: Make Your Own Memory Palace
1 page

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.

My Quick "Delivery" Joke Example

Delivery Extras and Robin Williams Example

My Funny Story Example

Moth Story

Review: Techniques we have learned as used in my story
3 pages
Comedy Habit #5: Rehearsed Spontaneity
12 Lectures 18:57
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! :)

My own example of chasing the funny - do excuse sub optimal audio.

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: Watch this talk on How to Beat Stage Fright

Exercise: Practice Time
2 pages
Comedy Habit #6: Control the Audience
3 Lectures 06:02
Comedy Habit #6: Control the audience (and when not funny can be funny!)

Control the audience tips

Exercise: Start to Evaluate
2 pages
Comedy Habit #7: Close the Book, But Not Fully
5 Lectures 13:32
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.


Final Assignment

Exercise: Evaluation and Permanent Beta
2 pages
1 More Section
About the Instructor
David Nihill
4.3 Average rating
536 Reviews
10,798 Students
1 Course
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.