We continue sharing presentation lessons from comedians. These lessons were discussed during HBO’s TALKING FUNNY roundtable conversation between master comics Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Louis C.K.
To develop his comedy act, Louis CK would, “Take my closing bit and open with it. Because then I had to follow my strongest bit.”
That’s smart advice for anyone presenting anything. If you’re giving a presentation, lead with your best material. If you’re pitching a client, lead with your best work and best rationale. If you’re debating someone, lead with your best argument.
By leading with your best material, you will challenge yourself to make sure the rest of your presentation can compare to your strong opening. If the rest of your material can’t compare to your opening bit, then you need to rework and rethink your presentation points.
I can relate to this advice. For my Bigness of Smallness presentation, I lead with my best stuff. Early on, I struggled to make sure everything else that followed my opener was strong enough to keep the audience’s attention. After a few years and continuous honing, my follow-up material has become strong enough to work alongside my opening bit.
Back to conversation from TALKING FUNNY... when Louis C.K. told the others he developed his act by moving his strong close to the opener in order to challenge himself, Jerry Seinfeld said, “You see, that’s how he got good.”
You wanna get good at presenting just like Louis C.K. got good at stand-up comedy?
Try opening with your strongest material and then challenge yourself to develop material worthy of following your great opening bit.