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Commit to Your Presentation

After my Eureka! moment about GIVING PERFORMANCES and not simply delivering presentations, I decided to learn a little more about the craft of stand-up comedy. (FYI, I’ve already learned some lessons from Improv comedy.)

As I do with most any new topic that interests me … I read a book about the topic. Judy Carter’s “STAND-UP COMEDY: The Book” seems to be the most widely available. It gives you a basic understanding of how comedians source, shape, and deliver their act. There are lots of good nuggets in this book which I can apply to my presentations.

One such nugget is about Committing to Your Presentation. Carter writes …

“A comic who has made a dedicated commitment to his or her act can make an audience laugh just on the strength of confidence alone. It doesn’t really matter what is being talked about. Whether discussing the pope or polyps, or even the pope’s polyps, it is the commitment of the comic to his or her material that carries the act.

The commitment to communicate, to get ideas across, will provide all the fuel you need. The desire to communicate is the only sane reason to ever get on any stage.

Why? If you don’t believe in what you are talking about, neither will the audience. The topic you pick doesn’t have to be serious, but your attitude about it does. Whether talking love or lint, talk to you audience as if your words are going to change their lives.”

Smart stuff for us all, no matter if we are working our set in a small comedy club or working our deck in a small conference room.

For more on Judy Carter, visit


  • Bill Gammell says:

    John,Do you ever make it out to Utah? I’d love to see you in action some time, maybe even catch up on old times – oh, wait. We don’t share any old times. Maybe if you made it to Utah more often…

  • Good for you johnmoore. I’m a firm believer in leveraging methods from one industry to another. People don’t do it enough. Finding the potential connection and reworking the metaphor for the new application is the challenging part…No, it’s not a major leap to see the similarity in powerful presentation in the board room with powerful presentation on the comedy stage. We’ve learned methods of improv can help you think on your feet in business, but the schlock of stand-up doesn’t sit down at the conference table.By going there you’ve just uncovered a vein of content, best practices, and learning that others wouldn’t consider. Nice work.

  • Bill … we do go way back. Remember, we had dinner at Babu’s Dream Cafe. The food wasn’t that good and the place was empty. Remember now?Seriously, travel hasn’t taken me to Utah in many years. Maybe that’ll change in 2008.

  • Great advice John. It also helps if you treat your audience with respect especially when you get silly questions. Having the ability to find relevance in any question really helps how the audience relates to you.Thanks for the post.

  • Bill Gammell says:

    John,Of course I remember…I just wasn’t sure you would. As I recall, the shrimp was a little stringy. It was bad…very, very bad.We’ll if not Utah, hopefully soon somewhere else.