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Why business leaders should be more like stand-up comedians

Updated: Dec 10, 2018


Recently, our Communications Manager, Annette saw her comic idol live in Sydney – yes, she’s a massive fan of Jerry Seinfeld. Since then, the Seinfeld one-liners have flowed inspiring her to write this blog.


But all jokes aside – we think business leaders should be more like stand-up comedians and Annette explains why...


Turning a setback into success

Comedians are resilient – it’s a useful attribute to have when facing a setback, aka the heckler. In these moments, comedians need to think quickly so they don’t end up with egg on their face. Yet it’s also an opportunity to shine: often comedians reverse the situation by using the heckler as material – it’s a perfect example of how to turn a setback into success.


Challenging situations are bound to happen to the best of us, on stage and in business (Steve Jobs and Elon Musk both failed numerous times before their successes). So, rather than crumble in the face of a challenge (or challenger), we think handling the situation like a stand-up comedian has much to recommend it – have a well thought out plan, take charge quickly, and turn those setbacks into success stories.   


Connecting with people is an art

Good comedians understand their audience and tailor their material and act to suit – often adapting elements based on people’s reactions during a performance. So, what can a business leader learn from this agility? We know that great leadership has everything to do with relating to others in a meaningful and genuine way.


Anyone can have a conversation, but making a real connection is an art. So, just as you’d expect Rhys Darby to interact with and engage you at a gig, great business leaders reach out to others, engage them in discussions and provide feedback as well as taking it on board and adapting their “performance” accordingly.


Confidence makes you a great leader

Can you imagine Adam Hills delivering his material with no confidence? He wouldn’t be entertaining, and he wouldn’t have the prime-time TV gigs either. Confidence and comedy go hand in hand, just like confidence and business leadership. Comedians have to deliver their material with conviction or the laughs won’t follow – they have to believe they’re funny before the rest of us will.


Business leaders need this same self-assurance to back up their ideas and decisions, lead with authority, communicate convincingly and connect with stakeholders. Business leaders who are confident are more likely to empower and motivate others. 


So when you think about it, Hughesy and Hastings (as in Netflix), Schumer and Sandberg (as in Facebook) actually have a lot more in common than you might first think!


If you would like to learn more about Appco Australia watch our latest video which explains what we do, or check out our Facebook page.


 Editorial credit:  / Shutterstock.com

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