Are you looking for a funny speaker, a funny business speaker, funny motivational speaker or a business speaker who happens to be funny and entertaining? These are important distinctions, and it might help you to consider the differences before hiring your next speaker.
If your goal is to simply make the audience laugh, because it’s after dinner, a celebratory event, or because your event has been jam-packed with mind-numbingly serious presentations, then this is a laudable and much-need goal! But be crystal clear on what your goal is. Perhaps a comedian will fit the bill – chances are you can book a comedian for much less expense that you would pay for a professional speaker. Be warned though: many comedians do not change their nightclub routine when addressing corporate audiences, so if it’s important for you to ensure the act is 100% clean, then ask! I’ve heard horror stories from clients who have hired comedians and were shocked by the material – doubly so in cases where spouses or even children were present!
Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many great, very funny and clean humorists or comedians out there and if your goal is to make the audience laugh, then by all means that’s a reasonable option to consider.
Then there’s what I’d call “funny business speakers” – funny speakers, comedians or humorists whose material is focused on the business or work world. There are even corporate comedians who can customize a comedy routine based on your particular business, using inside examples, terminology and references to make the humor as relevant as possible.
The last category is where someone like me would fall into. A business speaker who happens to be funny. First and foremost I strive to deliver relevant content and ideas, but I do so (as do many other great speakers) in an entertaining and very funny manner. But the message comes first, the humor is simply the delivery mechanism for the messages and content.
So yes, I do get asked to speak at after dinner events from time to time. And yes, I have a few talks that are far more on the “humorist” side of the scale, but first and foremost I consider myself a business speaker and expert who happens to be funny, so I always make sure that when clients hire me for those tricky after dinner slots that they don’t refer to me as “the entertainment” or a “comedian” because the expectations and connotations are completely different.
Making a decision as to the type of speaker you require always starts with your goal. Do you want people to just laugh, or do you want people to laugh and learn? Laugh and think? Laugh and be challenged? Laugh and bring new ideas and insights back into your workplace?
Michael Kerr, June 2011, www.humoratwork.com
Michael is a funny Canadian motivational speaker who also happens to be a funny business speaker who provides serious business content in a funny way.
“Just wanted to say “WOW!” Our group has had many speakers over the years, but none the likes of Mike Kerr.”
Richard Dansereau, President, NAPA Autopro BDG
“Michael Kerr is one of the best speakers I have seen. I highly recommend him!”
Veronica D. Bouvier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Aspen Properties Ltd.
“Mike held the full attention of our senior management team for a full FOUR hour
presentation – no small accomplishment!”
Martine Rothblatt, CEO, United Therapeutics