Back in the day, Toastmasters Clubs used a mechanical tin clicker to shame folks into not doing:
"er's, ah's, um's," etc.
More often, this would make the clickee stumble even more.
Oddly, clickers are also used in dog training for the opposite purpose:
It seems that dogs like the sound of clicking,
especially if it is associated with getting treats.
Pictured above: assorted doggie clickers.
Hint: you are not a dog.
Are you still going to Toastmasters?
Q: Better to explain to the poor guy or gal what actually makes us stumble?
Because even expert speakers still stumble.
Because their body wants to go to the next thought, panics and stumbles.
JFK was often mocked for never getting over saying "ah" frequently.
Here he looks like he just forgot a line.
Learn to modify your speaking to just stop talking.
Give you body something else to do.
Thinking your next thought is the advanced technique.
"But, Jim: I'm not advanced yet!"
When starting out as a speaker or stand-up comic,
always bring a glass of water on stage.
When you can't think of your next line, take a sip.
Think about it: have you ever heard a cat have problems saying "ah" frequently?
Or at all?
No, they just keep purring along!
Time it at home:
It takes about 5 seconds to pick up the glass, take one sip, then return that glass to a table top or a bar stool.
. . . And it is impossible to talk and drink at the same time.
Unless you are a pretty good ventriloquist.
That 5-second window is important because it takes the average person 1-3 seconds to remember the forgotten line.
When you are up on stage, that time may feel like a year-and-a-day.
Nope: just 5 seconds.
Or one sip of water.
So, don' t panic.
Just start drinking!
Q: "But, Jim: what if I need 10 seconds to remember a line?"
A: That's a lesson for another time.
In the meanwhile, watch these video previews for:
"How Tell a Joke: on stage, during a speech and in the work place"
Here are some other
TIPS that will take the pressure off whenever you speak in public, even if it
is for the very first time.
And these tips are especially helpful if you want to tell a joke.
People at Toastmasters may tell you that comedy is the last thing you should attempt.
Rule number one:
"Degree of difficultly is never a factor!"
Because you either know comedy techniques and can execute them,
or you do not and cannot.
If you don' know, then you can't do.
Stop beating yourself up.
Instead, read on.
Here is some more of the advice which I give to wannabe comics on how to prep BEFORE your first open mic at a comedy club.
Or you might start out at a non-comedy club like The House of Blues in New Orleans that tried comedy on Tuesdays, a traditional off-night for music clubs.
Such one-nights are a good place to start before playing full-time comedy clubs open mics which double as official or unofficial auditions for paid work.
Remember: wherever you perform, you never know who is in the audience.
Might even be a casting director for a major TV show or movie frantically search for a character type.
If you might fit the bill, you could get invited to audition the very next day!
Read my tips on how to prep for last-minute TV show and Motion Picture auditions.
If you take this advice to heart, and act on it,
you can shave 6 months or more off the average time it takes to move from open mic-er to paid M.C.
Now, why would you want to do that?
You may lose a lot of friends who are open mic-ers
. . . if you get hired way faster than they do.
Yes: cronyism is a waste of time.
The full-time comedy clubs will only hire you if you have mastered writing and performing techniques.
Who you know means nothing.
Everyone knows everyone anyway, right?
Instead, look at this check list of techniques,
and let your comedy mastering begin today:
•Get in touch:
PO Box 992
Mill Valley, California 94942-0992
Page last updated: Monday, February 17, 2014, 11:58 am PST