Steve Cody, a public relations consultant who blogs as The Repman, says he’s learned four things about good communication from practicing stand-up comedy.
1. Courage builds courage. Regularly facing an audience, especially a hostile one, thickens your skin. The more you do it, the easier it becomes to put on a happy face.
2. Timing is (almost) everything. Relentless practice will help you develop the kind of rapport you need so you can fill a pregnant pause or use humor to ease tension.
3. It’s not just what you say, but how. Nonverbal cues matter. Practicing comedy heightens one’s awareness of nonverbal cue: what you’re signaling and what your audience is sending.
4. Humor works like a magnet. A person willing to laugh in tough circumstances shows enormous confidence, which uplifts others. Cody finds humor an incredibly powerful tool, especially in bad times, because it says: “If we stick together, we will get through this.”
— Adapted from “So This Leader Walks Into a Bar:Lessons From Stand-Up Comedy,” Ken Jacobs, Naval Leadership.