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More important than words is the way we say it

6 November 2009 No Comment

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“It’s the way you tell ’em” was the famous catch phrase of an Irish comedian when I was growing up in the seventies. And it’s true! In my speaking career I have learnt that some people are naturally funny, and some aren’t. Some can deliver funny material well and some cannot.

I’ve tried! I did some stand up at University. I’ve also experimented with improv and a guitar, trying (badly) to emulate “Who’s line is it anyway” and performers like Bill Bailey. I think I should stick to a serious message peppered with the occasional humorous remark. I can do improv, but not like the people on TV!

Here’s something that helped me put humour into perspective. Some people are naturally funny. Tommy Cooper was one of them. Even when his material was rubbish, he could still make an audience laugh. At the opposite end of the scale were Little and Large. Even if they had funny material, they delivered it badly. I don’t know how they lasted as long as they did.

My great skill as a speaker is my memory. And I use pictures in my memory. That way I never dry. When I see somebody on stage dry I know that they have a script that they have tried to memorise by rote. Whereas people like me have a story line depicted in pictures. We get from one end to the other with appropriate dialogue, which invariably changes each time the message is presented. And we never dry.


I may be talking about memory techniques at PresentationCamp London on 17 Jan 2010. There will be many speakers at PCL1 from across the spectrum, whether beginner or expert. The event is free and there are only 100 spaces, so make sure you sign up as soon as you can.

PCL1 is not just about speaking. It’s about anything which helps us to make our presentations better.

One thing I need to learn more about is telephone techniques. Can you come to PCL1 and talk about that? Or do you need to learn about that now? My friend Jeremy Jacobs is running a workshop this month on cold calling, if you’re interested?

Posted on 6 Nov 2009 by Proactive Paul

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