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Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker
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Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  505 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Public speaking can be terrifying. For David Nihill, the idea of standing in front of an audience was scarier than cliff jumping into a thorny pit of spiders and mothers-in-law. Without a parachute or advanced weaponry. Something had to change.

In what doesn't sound like the best plan ever, David decided to overcome his fears by pretending to be an accomplished comedian ca
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by BenBella Books (first published January 11th 2015)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  505 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Lots of useful, funny tips for public speaking.

The book strongly relies on TedTalks and occasionally feels like a developed research paper, but overall worth it. I definitely want to come back to this one.
Kent White
useful and intelligent

I'm feeling funnier, telling better stories, and some third thing. David Nahil gives a great primer on how to get to the funny and improve public speaking. I'm already using lots of his tips.
Ron Hogue
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a trainer who has taught others how to present, I thought this book would offer very little for me to learn. To say I was hugely mistaken, is no exaggeration.
David magically weaves business, humor, tragedy, and action into this brilliant read. He draws from marketing masters like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk, comedy masters like Jerry Seinfeld and Matt Groening, and literary masters like Mark Twain and William Shakespeare to show you how to deliver your message - regardless of the topic.
Nicola Mansfield
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First let me say I am sooo not the intended audience for this book. However, I thought it was just wonderful. The book is written for anyone who needs help with public speaking though Nihil does make frequent reference to the business presentation. He started off as your normal scared-to-death public speaker who went on a journey and ended up becoming an award-winning speaker and storyteller. The evening of the day I finished this book, I actually went to a teaching lecture and the professor was ...more
Frederic Kerr
May 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This book covers a lot of ground at limited depth. Author Nihill sounds like a lively speaker. He doesn't really do justice to presentation skills in much detail. His suggestion that humour could galvanize a lot of moribund business presentations is very welcome, but he's not totally credible with some of his comedy references.

For example, he talks about pro comedians generating 12 to 20 laughs per minute, which is wildly high. That's a laugh every 3 to five seconds, which is impossible to sust
Kim Reid
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
David Nihill went on a wild ride to become a good public speaker, to perform and make people laugh. DYTF shares his excellent story. The real gem of the book is the delivery of lessons learned in the form of a simple and clear map for us to follow to do the same.

DYTF shares exercises that can be taken step by step to craft a speech that incorporates laughter. Humor makes it easier for an audience to follow along, enjoy what you are sharing, and absorb it. He shows us how to identify and evaluate
Julie H.
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
You may not know this, but I'm a recovering college professor, am now a federally-employed archaeologist, and I won a copy of this book as a Firstreads giveaway. While the third fact has in no way influenced the content of this review, the first two have definitely informed why I was initially drawn to this book and what I ultimately found most valuable within its pages.

Terrified of public speaking but required by circumstance to host a fundraising event for a friend who had suffered a spinal c
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very actionable, great tips. I was able to apply lots of what I've read to a new talk I'm presenting. And I think it quickly became the best talk I ever delivered!
Jurgen Appelo
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-speaking
Great collection of tips for public speakers.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reread
This book breaks the wall that I often hit with other business books. The knowledge here is actionable!

If you follow the worksheets as you read you will walk away with better stories, funnier intros and a better sense of how to speak in public. A solid understanding of the basics leads into practical and useful tips that can be used right after reading.

You can tell that David has really struggled with this subject and has discovered a deep insight in the techniques of stand ups. True to his ow
Silent P
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book for public speaking. He does an excellent job of walking through the preparation necessary to become a better public speaker while not sugar coating the hard work that goes into the effort. I constantly reference this book while coaching others and when I am preparing to speak.
I cannot recommend this book enough.
Liang Gang Yu
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome book on a difficult topic - being funny in business conversations. It is entertaining and practical, suites my appetite very well.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A short book but full of useful and immediately-applicable methods, tips, and exercises to improve one's presentation skills. This book is staying in my personal reference library.
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
As a stay-at-home mom and writer, I am definitely not the target audience for Do You Talk Funny. But I still somehow, amazingly, found this book to be relevant to my life, and I ended up really enjoying it. I think a big part of the book's appeal is that it is written with the novice in mind. I am pretty much terrified of public speaking, as Nihill was, so I could easily identify with his situation. Moreover, I absolutely appreciated his willingness to put himself out there so he could overcome ...more
Jeff Mcmahon
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Modern-Day Storytelling Is Joke Telling”

The premise of David Nihill’s Do You Talk Funny? is that while we all can’t be professional comedians we can, and should, utilize the comedians’ techniques for public speaking in order that we make more powerful connections with our audience. Whether you work in business, the arts, or education, Nihill’s comedy primer is designed for you.

Nihill correctly points out that the secret to comedy is not the one-liner or the punch line, but the personal story or
Jean-Paul Popoff
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm a member of a local Toastmasters club, completed my CC and working on a double DTM (if you're into TM, then you know what I mean). I was raised on PBS, British comedies, and have a highly idiosyncratic sense of humour - meaning that, generally, only long-time friends and family members get my humour. I'm fairly adept at academic, inspirational and informational speaking, but felt that I could use some humour training. I found Mr. Nihill's blog very helpful. That's how I ended up getting to r ...more
Drew Flynn
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
If your thinking about getting into standup, this is the book for you. The book literally outlines at the end 80 steps to practice and use to be great at it. While I'm not looking to head in that direction (yet), the advice greatly spills over into the art of public speaking.

The bottom line of this book is that if you want to be engaging as a speaker, you have to be funny. And the cool secret is that anyone, even those with absolutely no experience, can give a very funny talk.
Christopher Kokoski
Short Practical Tricks To Make You Funny


- Good solid advice from an obvious expert on public speaking.
- Practical tips from joke structure, storytelling and how to continuously improve your funny
- Just as importantly, what to avoid that can kill your funny and speech


- Short (although to some this might be a pro)
- This book seems aimed at the novice presenter or comedian. Someone more experienced would likely know most of these points.

Since this book is for presenters who want to a
Gaurav N
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
A very practical guide to becoming a humorous speaker. I specifically loved the recommendation to keep the joke book by observing the events during the day. Funny incidents happen around us all the time if you see them from a humor lens.
Allan C Lane
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If your worst nightmare is standing on a stage naked giving a speech, this book will put you in your underwear. In fact, this book is a little bit like a reverse striptease. Each time you read a chapter and put the exercises into practice, you'll get to add another piece of clothing to your nightmare, making it a little less scary. By the end of the book, you will have your audience laughing with you, not at you.

David Nihill understands where you're coming from, because he's been naked, too. Do
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This is an awesome read and a must for everyone trying to level up their presentations (it will even help for conversations)! I've studied the art of presenting for years and have a large library on the subject. This book is unique. It is a long-awaited, how-to on a powerful component to a great presentation: how to to be funny. Most people hate presenting; I myself have had horrible fear of it, but got over it. The one thing that helped me was when I happened to make people laugh. Eve ...more
Christine Haas
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book from a friend's desk and couldn't put it down, so he was forced to lend it to me! I now have to buy my own copy, since I learned so much from it, and found it to be such a fun read. As a public speaking coach, I'm always on the look-out for new material to share with students. I don't know of another book that breaks down humor in the same way so that it can be mastered and learned by others. Within a day of starting to read David's book, I was actually able to pull a piece ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal read! Not only is it well written, packed with TONS of great information, but it's also really funny! One day I was listening to the audiobook while flying back from a business trip and I kept cracking up to the point that the person sitting next to me had to ask what I was reading. I love the information that David provides in the book- not only are they great insights, but it's also easily implementable. I recall taking notes like a mad-woman as I was reading (well...list ...more
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pure gold! THE book and bible in my library for public speaking. Period.
What a fantastic read, chock full of instantly usable information and techniques; and not just for comedy. This is the only book you'll need to help you succeed in front of a room. The best part is David's easy going style; he's a pure pleasure to read. Reading this book is like hanging out with a good friend who wants to tell you his every last tip and secret to make sure you shine, shine, shine like the bright star you are
Sarah Ratliff
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't tell you how tempting it is to just say "Book good, me likey" due to the end of the book. I listened to the audio book and David Nihill is truly hilarious. He kept it very short and sweet and stuck by his own advice. This book focuses mainly on helping stand up comedians and business presenters, but still I felt like I was able to take a lot away from it just for every day conversation. The audiobook is narrated by him and I feel that, especially considering it is a comedy book, that was ...more
Elizabeth Piazza
Good pointers

Takes lessons from stand up comedy to public speaking for business, not a commonly pointed out crossover but one that makes perfect sense in retrospect. The book was especially effective in that the author peppered it with his own stories that implicitly followed all his rules of good storytelling and "finding the funny". He managed to smoothly tie these stories in, which was impressive by itself but also perfectly illustrated his main points of instruction.
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fun to read. David details his own comedic transformation, becoming a humor student. He's a charming storyteller and teacher. Readers can learn his methods. He's a gifted listener and editor who makes every word count. Most of all, he respects his audience. Humor has hypnotic power. He uses star TED speakers as examples. David can help anyone channel the untapped potential of funny. And that's no laughing matter.
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I would want to read and reread before giving any major presentation. David nihill discusses the importance of adding comedy to every speech, and gives out countless of helpful tips and pointers for it to be successful!
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Proven tips and strategies for improving presentations and public speaking, whether for business-related or other occasions.

I used the advice right away and received high praise and awesome feedback for a work presentation. It definitely works!
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
David's Not Only Hilarious, He's A Great Teacher!

I read this book after taking David's course on Udemy, and I've gotta say, it was completely AWESOME! Too many laugh out loud moments to count and, like his course, this is a great resource for writers and speakers alike.

Well done sir.
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Born in Dublin, Ireland, David is the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His work has been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, NPR, The Irish Times, Fast Company and Forbes. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School he wears a tie, but only to bungee jump.
“Think back through your experiences and make a bullet point list of funny stories that have happened to you or your friends. Travel, school, college, parties, work, interaction with parents/in-laws, embarrassing situations, etc. Looking at old photos will help to jog memories.” 3 likes
“The end of laughter is followed by the height of listening.” — Jeffrey Gitomer” 2 likes
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