Pitching for business is no joke, so don’t be an unrehearsed stand up

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As the Edinburgh Fringe draws to a close, the funniest one liner has been revealed and, let’s be honest, it’s just not that funny.

Ken Cheng’s line – “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change” – doesn’t really split your sides and he’s a professional.

One of the most common questions I am asked when I deliver pitching and presentation skills to various business professionals is whether someone should add in a funny quip to lighten up their presentation.

My honest opinion is to leave comedy to the professionals because, as we’ve found out through Ken Cheng, even they can get it wrong sometimes and they are literally getting paid to be funny.

Stand up comics are rarely unrehearsed and if you are delivering a presentation, whether it is internal or pitching for new business, you should never be unprepared or the joke will be on you.

No-one wants their presentation to be remembered for all the wrong reasons, so I focus a lot on encouraging delegates to rehearse, rehearse and rehearse.

I have trained a variety of business professionals in the art of delivering better presentations and it doesn’t matter which industry you are in, if you turn up with just an idea of what you want to cover and a pile of slides to bore your audience with, you will absolutely not perform to the best of your abilities.

My background is in broadcast journalism and I never once presented the news or reported live from location without a good amount of preparation and rehearsal. The same goes for any event that I host – I never just waltz onto a stage and hope for the best. The most slick of performances are never by accident.

What would be even worse than trying to deliver a presentation unprepared would be trying to deliver a stand up comedy act unprepared in an attempt to win your audience over and cover up your poor presentation. Here’s some advice – don’t, just don’t!

What you should do, however, is realise that delivering good pitches and presentations is a learned skill and with the right one-to-one presentation skills training you can transform from pitch poor to pitch perfect.

Now…back to the Edinburgh Fringe….here’s Frasermedia’s favourite by Adele Cliffe – “As a vegan, I think people who sell meat are disgusting; but apparently people who sell fruit and veg are grocer”.  Boom Boom!

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