Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comedy and learning

I do a lot or presenting at conferences and the like. Of course much of this is about ego, being centre of attention, narcissism etc but I really genuinely want to give away my secrets. However, I do know that telling people stuff is not the right way to train or coach them - you need to engage them too.

In recent years, I have been trying to improve Pareto masterclasses and presentations by introducing 'Made to Stick' techniques into training. Lots of exercises, getting people to write stuff down etc.

However, in Washington this (northern) summer I did a presentation called 'Mythbusters' about fundraising myths with a new spin, I deliberately tried to make it funny. It seemed to work; got great 'marks'*, but also people I spoke to seemed to really take on some of the key points.

The highlight for me was seeing guru and friend Mal Warwick bent over double from laughing.

It got me thinking though, so I went on a stand up comedy course to try and improve engagement and learning. Graduation from the course, was a short stand up show at a comedy club, which you can watch if you want.

I can tell you though, if you do do any public speaking this course will help you. Not just for how to contruct funny stories or jokes but also the whole nerves / preparation / bright lights thing. Go on, give it a go.

So, the comedy course graduation was at a comedy club. I was one of five students and there were three 'real' comedians along, and my colleague Justine recorded a video of it.

You can see it here on You Tube if you like and if you do, I hope you enjoy the video. But, please DO NOT WATCH IT if you don't like swearwords - it is classic stand up and has nothing to do with fundraising, charities or social justice and is pretty rude.

(TIP: Press play, then pause and wait two or three minutes for the whole video to 'buffer' before pressing play again).

* For some thoughts about conference scoring, check out this blog.

(c) Pareto Fundraising 2008, All Rights Reserved


Tertia Sanderson said...

Hi Sean

I think you did really well! I really enjoyed it ... thanks for posting it.


Anonymous said...

Hi bro, I cried after having a laugh. love you

Kimberley from Canada said...

Jonathon - He did it! Actually made a video and shared it with the world! WOW!

Thank you Sean. A gusty, risky, bold move. Then you had it recorded and posted it. Very inspiring, very human.

Thank you. That was a lot of fun.

PS. just curious: are you still into this fundraising thing or are you off to pursue a new calling?

Rob Daly said...

Very funny and very brave of you. Most of us think we are comedians, not actually able to deliver.

For someone who has mastered the mix of taking a serious topic and conveying it with comedy, Mark Thomas is a master - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mark+thomsa&search_type=

Disaster Fundraising Guide download it here