Stand-Up Comedians: Using Body Language to Convey a Message

Despite often appearing to be the least serious people on the planet, stand-up comedians have a lot to teach us about the visual aspect of presenting. Stand-up comedy blends performance art and public speaking, and these comedians must work tirelessly to perfect their presentation skills in order to not make a fool of themselves on stage.

These comedians incorporate drastic body language, visual aids and creative nonverbal communication to get their “message” across. Here are a few impressive examples that can teach anyone giving a professional presentation a lot about how to wow an audience.

 

Here is an excellent display of nonverbal communication by one of the most vibrant comedians around at the very start of his career. His entire joke, which lasts more than three minutes, consists of just a couple sentences wrapped up by a three-word punchline. If you take a look at our previous post discussing how to use body language to improve your presenting skills, you’ll see that the majority of how we communicate is nonverbal. Though it may seem ludicrous, Jim Carrey uses his body language as a powerful communication tool, and relies almost exclusively on it during his performance.

 

Creating a unique persona for yourself is a highly effective way to make a lasting impression on people you encounter. While in the business world, especially when giving a professional presentation, a positive, confident persona will most likely be the best strategy, comedian Zach Galifianakis has mastered the art of creating a whole persona–an easily recognizable character–in so subtle a way that he can seemingly stand there, say practically nothing, and have people rolling on the ground laughing.

Syncing your talking points with your presentation tool (your PowerPoint presentation) is vital in order to get your message across clearly and concisely. Dimitri Martin is a master of visual comedy, and here he is showing something very similar to a slide-by-slide presentation. Pay careful attention to Martin’s timing and momentum, especially the way he builds anticipation for the point he’s about to make.

When giving a professional presentation, we always recommend having a professionally designed PowerPoint in your arsenal. Simply showing up to the presentation with a PowerPoint presentation (no matter how good it is) will be quite enough. Knowing how to blend your talking points, body movements and your visual accompaniment is the key to a seamless presentation.

When crafting your presentation to compliment your PowerPoint–or the other way around–it’s important to practice and coordinate carefully. Think about timing, simplicity, and highlighting your key points so that they’ll make an impact on your audience.

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