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INSPIRE #259: How to Make People Laugh Like Donkeys!

David Nihill On Lessons Learned from 1 Year Challenge to Overcome Public Speaking Fear Thru Stand-Up Comedy!

Listen to the podcast below!



If you’ve ever wanted to have more confidence when talking, learn to speak in public, or at least not run for the hills when your name is called, then do we have the funny talking show for you!

Today I’ll be speaking with David Nihill, known affectionately by his stage name Irish Dave, about one of my new favorite public speaking, AND standup comedy books, Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker.

We’ll discuss his one year stunt to go from scared stupid of public speaking, to hosting a business conference, regularly performing stand-up comedy, and winning story-telling competitions in front of packed houses…all by studying some of the best public speakers in the world: stand up comedians. (Fantastic knowledge for self-improvement!)

That plus we’ll talk about Shakin’ Steven’s, poking sharks, and why you don’t want to give a macbook pro to a goat…unless he’s a good typist.

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David is the Founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. His learning, taken from one year’s intensive experiments in comedy, performed on someone from the business community with a huge initial fear of public speaking (i.e. him!) have been featured in Inc., Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, Forbes, and became the best selling book Do You Talk Funny?. A graduate of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Ireland, he wears a tie but only to bungee jump, and calls San Francisco home when immigration officials permit.



David Nihill Online:  Twitter

7 Comedy Habits Website: 

FunnyBizz Website:

David’s Winning Story at the 2014 Moth Story Slam:

Key Topics:

  • How a cliff-jump ended with a trip to the vet
  • Arash Bayamakou Ted Talk – Arash Bayatmakou | TEDxMarin – YouTube
  • Who was Shakin’ Stevens?
  • What his lunatic plan was become a better public speaker
  • AJ Jacobs style or Tim Ferris style for a 1 year project.
  • 1 year pretending to be an accomplished comedian and seeing how far he can get
  • Pretty much 1 year of lunacy
  • How’d he become Irish Dave?
  • What’s an estrogen entrée with a side of balls
  • How you don’t necessarily overcome fears (such as stage fright or public speaking), but you manage them.
  • What Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule (and Anders Ericsson) has to do with deliberate practice and improving.
  • How he was learning from the best, and reviewing each show immediately afterwards
  • Why the best Ted Talk speakers always learned from comedians
  • What laughs per minute has to do with successful Ted Talks and business talks
  • Why Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk is the most viewed Ted Talk of all time.
  • What he learned from Seth Godin who’s great as a business speaker
  • How Seth Godin is funny in part from using visual content
  • How to make a laugh
  • How do we craft a story.
  • Why you want to get feedback from your audience
  • How to figure out what’s behind funny
  • What’s the Power of 3?
  • What do chimps, pop tarts and words with k?
  • Jerry Seinfeld Pop Tart YouTube Video: Seinfeld Pop Tart video
  • Why a tight five’s much better than a sloppy 15
  • What does Hand Movement have to do with Ted Talks
  • How hand movement is linked to the virality of Ted Talks online
  • Kermit Panic Video
  • Joshua Foer Memory Champion, author of Moonwalking with Einstein, and his memory palace
  • Why don’t you want to pet the hamster?
  • How do you practice your talk?
  • How do we embrace the fear of public speaking
  • How he gave a Ted Talk to Arash
  • His book: Do You Talk Funny,, get 80 tips from the book free
  • How he performed for NPR’s the Moth…and made it to the finals in the competition!
  • How Dave Chapelle practices
  • Why we should have John Acuff on the show, and why he’s one of the funniest business speakers.
  • How President Obama is using comedy


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