Monday, June 24, 2013

Laughs and Lattes - Coffee with the Masters - Tim Ferrell, Before You Speak

Coffee with the Masters -Tim Ferrell
OK, I admit - I was a bit nervous setting up this coffee date.  Why? I'm not sure.  Mostly because Tim Ferrell has been someone I have been wanting to chat with for a long time, and now, I finally had my chance.  I have admired Tim's work ever since I watched MyHoney take the stage nearly five years ago in the Portland's Funniest Professional Contest, knowing that Tim was the man who coached him, and I laughed until my sides hurt.  More importantly, I was impressed by the students - ordinary average people - who had become brave, funny, bold and daring in just eight short weeks.  This guy, I knew, was not only a Master of Laughter -but he is a Master at transforming people into performers.

I've been in Toastmasters a long time, and have studied professional comedians as they deliver their lines.  Quality writing, timing, impromptu, laugh counts - it's all a beautifully orchestrated event, and when done properly can leave an audience in stitches and repeating one-liners for days, weeks, even years to come.  There isn't a person alive who doesn't know Who's on First.  So, to be able to sit and pick the brain of the Master of Comedic Delivery and Performance - Tim Ferrell - was indeed - a treat.

Funny thing was (excuse the pun) - Once I finally got the man behind the mic in front of me, I drew  a blank of all the things I wanted to ask him and was just enthralled to sit and listen to his stories - his incredible stories that paint a picture of lessons learned, pitfalls to avoid, triumphs, ah-ha moments, and success.

Tim Ferrell
Tim started out just like any other success story, really.... on a dare.  I mean - don't we all start out that way?  His friends dared him to get up on stage, try out a few lines, and he said "sure."  He grinned slyly as he leaned forward and admitted to me "getting a couple laughs was addictive"... The rest is history.  He went on to to perform comedy in clubs all over NYC, and then began managing one.

"Thing was, as the comics got off the stage, they would always ask me how they did.... so I would tell them.  After a while, I became known as the guy who gave pointers on how to make their sets better.  Finally, someone said to me - you outta do this for a living"  So, he began running comedy workshops, and has been transforming ordinary, average people into humorous, bring-down-the-house, confident laugh creators.

"It's just one of my passions to see other people do well."

Tim - what are the most valuable keys to success you want people to know? (Finally - my star-struck self started to remember some questions I wanted to ask!)

"Be willing to fail - because no matter what, you are going to make it.  The audience, your clients, your family and friends WANT you to succeed."

What do you tell people who think they wouldn't be any good?

"Give yourself permission to suck - a little bit.  No one is brilliant right out of the gates - work on yourself, and don't take criticism personally."

Laughs & Lattes - Coffee with the Masters

What do you tell people who get disheartened and want to give up?

"You need to pay your dues - You need to ask yourself, 'what can I do today to move forward' - even by just a little bit.  A good comedian makes stand-up look effortless, but it's work.  At the end of a set, an audience won't even remember your name.  They will remember you by material you said. They will say things like 'remember the guy who said the thing about the cat....'   You have to be willing to be THAT guy.  Be willing to take a chance."

Be the doorman for when opportunity knocks, be willing to take a chance, pay your dues, and no matter what - don't take yourself too seriously.  Keys to Success from the Master of Laughs - Tim Ferrell.

After we wrapped up, I walked out to the parking lot and sat in my car to review my notes.  For an interview with an amazingly funny man, I have a lot of serious business building material here.  He gave me pointers on how to improve my own stage presence.  He recommended always stepping out from behind the podium so you are in front of your audience.  He gave me pointers to improve my video blogs - such as to never sit down when presenting (unless you are being interviewed), keep your eyes on the camera (or person you are talking to), and simplify your message - "less is always more" Tim said.  I was excited for my next chance to get on stage to try his tips and techniques that would really bring my audience in... and for me, that is no joke. 

If you are interested in learning more about Tim Ferrell, and how adding humor to your presentations can boost your business - watch his presentation on Vimeo:

If you would like to learn how to work with Tim Ferrell either via workshop or one-to-one coaching -check out his website:

"Laughs and Lattes" is an installment of  the "Coffee with the Masters." Series.   If you are a business owner in the Greater Portland Area who would like to chat over cup of coffee to share your keys to success and how to reach your Key Potential - please contact me.  I'm buying!

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