Improv skills for better public speaking

Update: Please check out my Improv for Business partner’s blog entry on a more recent workshop that we gave: It’s much more thorough than mine – 2/21/13

I’m co-teaching an Improv for Public Speaking next Wednesday in NYC. From the course description: The objective of this class is to use the rules, skills, and games of improvisational theater to become a more polished public speaker and business professional. Try out the Improv experience without committing to a full-time course, have fun, build business skills, and meet new people.

Read the whole description and sign up here:

What you will learn in this class:

  •     How to be funnier and more engaging when public speaking
  •     Fun techniques for general social interaction and humor
  •     Ways to respond “on the fly” during a speech or a panel when put on the spot
  •     Better ways to communicate in meetings or with clients
  •     How to address stage fright and fear of speaking
  •     Public speaking tips and tricks
  •     Dealing with tough speaking situations… hecklers, smart-asses, people talking

Improv techniques you will learn

  • The rules of Improv
  • Telling your story
  • Connecting with the audience
  • Use of language and humor
  • Body language, non-verbal communication, and presence
  • Voice projection, control, and range
  • Fun games to put you in the moment

Speaking and presentation techniques you will learn

  • Finding your voice
  • Designing effective slides
  • Stage presence and eye contact
  • Speaker tech (laptops, remotes, audio, cables)
  • Effective use of photos & video (incl photos that always create empathy and humor)
  • Using slides to “break context” for humor
  • Pre-presentation checklist

By the end of the class, you will

  •     Feel more confident in front of a crowd
  •     Be more aware of body and voice, and how to use each to communicate effectively
  •     Have a set of exercises to use to relax and warm up the voice
  •     Be able to think quickly and adapt to a constantly changing situation
  •     Be a hit at every party because you can bust out sweet improv games

Why am I doing this?

Simple reason, really (aside from the obvious one). Through theater skills you learn real life skills. Because of theater, I came out of my shell, developed confidence (maybe a little too much at times – but I was 14, so gimme a break), and developed a love for a new art form. Through theater you improve your public speaking, thinking, and overall communication skills. You learn how to get in touch with your emotions and understand the emotions of others. You learn to react appropriately and quickly. And it’s fun. So just do it for that.