SL003: What Top Keynote Speakers Can Learn From Comedians

In this episode of The Speakers Life we look at what top keynote speakers can learn from comedians about crafting a speech. Thanks to comedian Ricky Gervais for inspiring this episode.

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Hey there it’s James Taylor here I’m at London Heathrow Airport stay on my way to head out to an event in San Francisco California but I thought just do this little episode just now about the idea of work in progress now this is about how to develop your speech how to develop your your keynote your craft as a speaker last night I was at an event called work in progress show by the comedian Ricky database. So Ricky kindly put myself and my my wife Alison on the guest list for what’s called a work in progress show. So he has a big tour it’s going to be happening in about a year’s time and what he’s doing is he’s actually starting to work up the show what you’re working on all the different segments of the show musical work in progress shows the thing about work in progress show is you might do three or four or more and you’re testing out different lines and different ideas that you eventually want to put in your main show. Now here’s how this works for speakers and what we can learn from our speakers something was very interesting and the way that Ricky

crafts and builds up his set is he’s obviously thinking in individual sketches and five minute five to 10 minutes, sketches. So what you’ll often see him do is you actually even had it written on the back of his hand. He had the big names of each of the individual sketches. There’s probably about 10 of them over the course of the 60 minutes or something that he he gave his his show full. And he’s trying different ideas. And some of them work and he was very open. He came out and start saying, Hey, this is a very small audience, probably 200 people, which you normally doing big stadiums, big arenas, and he said, listen this some of these things I’m going to say tonight. So I’m going to fly some of them just going to absolutely crash and burn and that’s absolutely fine. So when, depending on the feedback I get from you tonight, will depend on why end up using in my final show. So this is a useful thing for us to think about speakers about how as we’re building up the keynote, especially as we’re working on a keynote think in a modular way thinking five minutes segments, five minute chunks of time and then what you can do is the other

Interesting thing about when you think about it that way, if you’re asked to give a speech as a slightly different from your main speech, you can just take these modules and parts of your speech and move them around. But the really key thing I learned last night this is something I always do if I’m working on a new speech I will book in a couple of shows

which are just there’s work in progress shows my book in four or five might be with a rotary club for example like essentially almost free gigs I’m doing in order to just test out this material These are my work in progress shows so if you have a big speech coming up trying get a couple of

work in progress shows in your schedule so you can work up the tune you the the pieces in your actual speech and think in those five minute modular blocks. That sounds like my my flight is going to be boarding soon, so I’ll leave it without just now. All the best all the best way of speaking, you’re speaking life This episode of The Speakers Life is sponsored by eSpeakers, the innovative platform that connects speakers with event organizers and associations.

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