Make Your Public Speaking Partner Look Good

Teams fist punch
Elaine Lung
November 17, 2017

How does an improv player create an audience-pleasing scene onstage? They make their partner look good because they know when you make your partner look good, you look good.

In the pressure of a live improv show, actors do unexpected things. Once a member of my team who usually was easy to work with got onstage and went for the easy joke. It fell flat, the audience didn’t laugh as much as he anticipated, and it threw me & perhaps the rest of his team off. When an actor builds themself up like that, they let their team down & the audience too. The scene they are trying to create suffers, and the audience doesn’t enjoy it.

At work, if a team member tries to make themselves look good at the expense of another team member, or tries to place blame for a failure on another team member, the whole team suffers. Moreover, the accusing person doesn’t look good either.

If one employee makes a joke at the expense of another, they don’t make friends either, obviously.

What about adversarial situations? Consider walking into an interview or presentation where you feel pressure to perform well. What if you try to make your presentation audience look good? What would that involve? Can you sincerely compliment them in some way as you open? Can you involve them so they feel like intelligent contributors instead of adversaries? What message, idea or thought can you give them as a gift during the course of your presentation?

Audiences want to be entertained, educated and involved. How can you craft your presentation, conversation, or appeal so that they feel you have their best interest in mind? So that they see you know who they are and took pains to involve them?

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