Do you talk funny?

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David Nihill

Former biologist Tim Lee takes the stage at TEDx for the second time this year. Lee’s medium of choice: the all too often mind-numbingly boring PowerPoint presentation, but when he unleashes his deck, it’s anything but. Within seconds, the audience is in hysterics of laughter and clapping loudly to show its appreciation … for his PowerPoint. You may be wondering why this has not happened to you.

Lee is one of a growing number of comedians equally at home on a business stage. As the lines between information and entertainment blur, speakers like him are in high demand. (Lee actually has sold out shows where people pay money to see him give PowerPoint presentations. Sounds strange, I know.) Apart from being funnier than most, he has one big additional advantage over regular business speakers: He is onstage way more often.

Comedians’ content and delivery are honed through years of practice as they master their craft. In doing so, they are among the few public speakers that clock up the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell says make a master. It’s forcing regular business presenters to up their game.

With that in mind, here are 23 tips from Lee and other top 10,000-hour comedians for you to become a better and funnier public speaker:

by David Nihill


David is the author of the best-selling book Do You Talk Funny? and the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His work has been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, Fast Company, The Irish Times, WSJ, and Forbes. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School he calls San Francisco home when immigration officials permit, and was named on the 2017 Irish America 100 List, which recognizes the accomplishments of the best and the brightest Irish-American and Irish-born leaders.