Recently, I was at a comedy show, looking around at the audience in awe at how the comedian captured and held a crowd’s attention. Each and every pause and punchline was intentional. From that experience, I realized how much we can learn from these professional communicators and translate into our daily lives.
So, after her set, I approached and asked her if she’d teach us her ways.
Meet Nikki Glaser: a stand-up comedian and TV host. She stars in the hit morning show You Up with Nikki Glaser that can be heard daily on Sirius XM’s Comedy Central Radio. She also has several stand-up specials on both Comedy Central and Netflix.
I also tapped Ben Gleib, who’s been called one of the “funniest comedians working today” by TBS. His hour-long stand-up special Ben Gleib: Neurotic Gangster premiered on Showtime and is now available on Amazon Prime. He is the host, head writer and executive producer of Idiotest, the Emmy-nominated brain teaser show on GSN, hosts the news and politics podcast Last Week on Earth, and is a regular on the TODAY Show. For years he was one of the stars of Chelsea Lately on E!.
These two professional funny people put their brains together to help us better understand how to be top-notch communicators.
Create shock value.
“The best way I’ve found to get my point across is to try and make my point memorable. And to do that, I usually add a little shock value. Nothing that’s going to offend anyone per se, but something that catches their attention. For instance, if I want to make sure the waiter remembers that I want extra cucumbers on my salad I’ll say, ‘I want more cucumbers than you think a human would ever want to consume in one sitting. If I had a cucumber allergy, try to kill me,’” emphasizes Glaser.
Ask great questions and then listen!
Gleib encourages people to “make it about them by asking thoughtful questions. I’m astounded this one doesn’t come naturally to people: don’t make banal chit-chat. Just take a second to think about what it is you actually want to know! …Then ASK THAT! A unique conversation is way better and more memorable for everyone involved. Actually listen to the answers. Nothing will hurt a relationship more than showing them you aren’t paying attention. If your aim is to be forgettable, ignore this advice. ”
Give them a reason to want to remember you.
Glaser continues, “I also use methods I learned from Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People. One that has always stayed with me is that you need to give the person with whom you’re trying to communicate a reason to want to remember what you’re telling them. Incentivize your information. A good way to approach this is to ask yourself, ‘What works on me when I remember something?’ For me, I like to feel like I’m special. So that means I often phrase whatever I’m saying in the form of a secret ‘I don’t usually tell people this…’ or ‘You’re someone who I know will understand this…’. And I want to be clear that this shouldn’t be a lie; there’s a reason you’re trying to get them (and not someone else) to listen and remember so let them know that reason!”
A little self-deprecation goes a long way.
“People love when you are self-deprecating. It makes you human and makes them laugh. But do so without ever appearing weak so they don’t doubt you. Being able to admit your mistakes and flaws and then confidently moving on conveys the healthiest ego you could have. That’s attractive to people. (It also doesn’t hurt not be be dressed like a slob or spill your food everywhere. People like their clothes and face food-free.),” points out Gleib.
Don’t be boring.
Gleib continues, “Feel what you are saying. Don’t phone it in. You may have told this story a thousand times. But don’t forget it’s their first time hearing it. So either don’t talk at all, or if you do, give it the attention and energy it deserves. Take your time. Make it come to life. Don’t be boring. Because here’s a great piece of wisdom: Boring is very boring.”
Got it? Create shock value, ask great questions, actually listen, incentivize them to remember you, throw in a dash of self-deprecation, and be interesting. Enjoy your conversations!
This article was originally published on Forbes.