How Friends Can Make You A Funnier Motivational Speaker

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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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.)