February 11, 2020
February 11, 2020
Two weeks ago, I ticked off something on my bucket list. I performed my first ever stand-up comedy gig. To help my act, I took part in a five day program to learn the subtle art of writing and delivering comedy …hopefully my experience will also take my keynotes to a more entertaining level!
During the course, there was one thing I really struggled with. It wasn’t the process of writing a joke or even the thought of making a complete fool of myself in front of my friends. It was the concept that in comedy, nearly everything is made up. As long as something seems authentic it doesn’t have to be true.
This idea contradicts what I teach during my Storytelling workshops. When it comes to sharing stories in business, I emphasise pretty strongly that your stories always need to be true. It’s simply not worth the potential backlash to your credibility to make up stories in business. To help make my point, I also use the analogy of a comedian. When we go and see a comedian, the transaction we enter into is:
‘I pay you money and you make me laugh.’
We don’t care if half the stories they share are not true as long as they are funny. This is not the case in business because we want to know what you are saying is the truth when we enter into a transaction.
Consequently, I had to work at making some jokes funnier by adding a twist that wasn’t true. Most of the time, I managed to be funny and authentic. Occasionally, I had to throw in some obvious non-truths. For example, the Queen isn’t really making a spin-off show for the Christina Applegate Netflix series ‘Dead To Me’, called, ‘Megan, You’re Dead To Me’.
To summarise, if you are sharing stories as a stand-up comic, make up content as much as you like. In contrast, when sharing stories in a professional business setting, stick to the truth and be authentic.
Better still, learn how to tell stories more effectively in business by registering for my only public workshops this year. For every ticket sold I am donating $50 to the Red Cross Bushfire Recovery Appeal and tickets are selling out fast.