Marketing Book Worth a Look: Do You Talk Funny? by David Nihill

May 28, 2016

Content marketing is serious business, right? We have to establish our authority, educate buyers, provide value to keep them coming back, and lead them to a purchase decision. Taking time to share a few laughs seems unprofessional and counterproductive.

Looking at a lot of B2B content out there, it seems many marketers agree with the previous paragraph. I see attempts to educate and inspire, but very few are actively aiming at the funny bone.

I think that’s a mistake. Nothing helps people connect better than sharing a laugh. That’s true whether they’re meeting in a pub or meeting your brand through your content.

Writing funny content can be tricky, though. It’s easy to think of comedy as an innate talent—you either have it, or you don’t. But it turns out comedy is a skill that you can improve through focused practice. Our featured book this month is all about developing that skill.

This Month’s Marketing Book Worth a Look: Do You Talk Funny? 7 Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker by David Nihill

FunnyBizz Founder David Nihill is a man on a mission to abolish boring content. He began his quest for comedy as an attempt to combat a fear of public speaking. David knew that humor can make or break a presentation, and wondered if he could learn how to be funny in public.

David jumped straight into the deep end, performing standup comedy for a year and learning from the comedians he worked with. In the end, he created a guidebook for developing humor in any kind of content, not just public speaking.

Why David Wrote Do You Talk Funny?

Here’s what David said when we asked what compelled him to write the book:

"Almost every book ever written on public speaking says humor is a key part of successful talks. Yet noone of them explain well how to employ it, which is about as useful as handing a MacBook Pro to a goat. None of them describe the techniques comedians use in a way that is actionable to a business audience. I wanted to address that, so I wrote this book. It was not a process I started voluntarily.

"I wondered if stand-up comedy could be broken down into processes aimed at mastery. Could I use comedy to craft more memorable, engaging, and effective presentations for the audience without making myself want to die? What should I focus on in order to obtain the outcome I desired? What are comedians learning the hard way on stage, often through trial and error? How does someone who feels they are not naturally funny kill it on stage? By studying comedy and the processes stand-up comedians use, can we make our presentations and key messages stand out while overcoming fears of public speaking? Can this be done quickly?

"I’d soon find out that the answer to all of these is ‘yes.’”

Why You Should Read It:

One of David’s big takeaways is that you don’t have to be naturally funny to be a comedian. In fact, most of the comedians he met were not. So whether or not you’re the office class clown, this book can help you develop a comedic approach to liven up your content.

In addition to being a useful resource, this book is a delight to read. You would expect a book about the effectiveness of comedy to be funny. David doesn’t disappoint in that regard. He’s a talented storyteller, and his personal anecdotes make the book a fun, light read.

Here’s David again:

“In reading Do You Talk Funny, readers will get a blueprint for creating their own comedic content. Content based on their own real life experiences and stories. While the focus of the book’s lessons are aimed at public speaking, marketers will still get a lot of actionable takeaways. What is said on the stage doesn't always translate to the page, but many of the underlying techniques certainly do. Most agencies have on their books at least a few creative writers and directors that started out in comedy. It's no coincidence they are better at producing funny copy than Karl in accounting.” 

What You Will Learn:

Do You Talk Funny? adapts the principals of standup comedy to business and marketing applications. You won’t learn how to sprinkle one-liners into your content, jokes that make an audience laugh but don’t leave a lasting impression. Instead, you will learn how to incorporate humor into a narrative. Humans need stories and humans love to laugh—combine the two and you can make a much bigger impression.

So even if you’re Karl from accounting, you can learn how to use humor to connect with an audience. Pick up your copy of Do You Talk Funny? to get started.

To hear more from David, check out our interview on the Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast, and follow him @FunnyBizzSF on Twitter.

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Photo: Emily Carlin