A Guest Post From Marianna Nunes, Speaker
As a female humorist, I test the waters of all my audiences in four ways:
1. I go early and try to meet as many people as possible. This warms them up to me, eases my nervousness, and I get a sense of how serious or playful they may be as audience members.
2. I go early so I can sit in on other programs. I see how readily they laugh or do not laugh, which lets me know what to expect for my program. If they're playful in one program they will usually be playful in the next program. Also, I can pick out the playful audience members that I may use in my program. If something significant occurs in an earlier program, I can tie it in to my speech in a humorous way.
3. I trust my intuition or gut sense when I walk into my audience. I actually can feel if there is a serious or playful tone in the room.
4. I prepare my introduction (which I insist that they read exactly as written)with a few humorous lines. If the audience does not laugh at those lines, I know I'm probably in for a long hour and not to expect too much laughter from the audience.
As a general rule for female humorists, it is usually easier to get more laughs and interaction from an all female audience. In a mixed audience, I find that the women are more open to laughter and they keep the audience alive. An all male audience is usually more reserved and more difficult to warm-up. They also prefer more content. With an all male audience, I act more corporate in my speech , my dress, and my entrance. These are general experiences that I have encountered, and I have had many, many exceptions.
The most critical piece of advice is to match your audience. If they are serious, begin a little more subdued so they can relate to you. I recently saw a great performer with such high energy (not matching her quiet audience) that many people left because they were so uncomfortable. The way to sell yourself to your audience is to make them feel they are like you! Thus, match them as much as possible with the tone of how you begin, your content, and your dress.
Marianna Nunes is a keynote speaker who captivates, motivates, and educates her audiences nationwide. At the lowest point in her life, Marianna was diagnosed as having cancer. Her personal relationship and business fell apart, and she was forced to go into debt. However, through a long process of raising her self-esteem and using laughter as a healing source, Marianna succeeded in rebuilding both her life and her career. She travels extensively, offering programs to business and association clients of all kinds. She is also well known for her popular singles program "The Art of Flirting."