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STRATEGY emphasizes the importance of respondtion management. That sense of play helped ing to cues from the audience. After one the company land a key account with WhirlIS THIS FUNNY? employee finishes her act, he points out pool, says Audrey Reed-Granger, who was one that she failed to pause to recognize the of the appliance maker’s PR directors at the “My stepdad, he’s a Secret group’s laughter. “We call that stepping time. While reviewing Peppercom’s proposal Service agent...I mean, you get weird things. You bring a guy home, on your laughs,” he says. “Standup is a for the job, Whirlpool’s PR team listened to and there’s a gun on the table.” dialogue. That ‘ha’ means something.” the podcast and loved the wacky approach. —Cortney Cleveland, junior account Cody originally sought out comedy “We found it endearing and attractive,” Reedmanager, in her standup debut training as a personal pursuit. While Granger says. taking a comedy course in New York, he The workshops have also enabled Cody to met Fletcher, who was then a trainer at identify star presenters among his staff. Those the school. After completing the prowho demonstrate exceptional poise onstage gram, Cody continued to train under are often tapped for key client meetings. PepFletcher and began performing at small gigs around New York; percom’s employees are often surprised by who the stars turn out Cody now appears several times a month at the New York Comedy to be. Indeed, in the latest workshop, Cortney Cleveland, an Club. As he learned to perfect his timing and adjust to his audiaccount manager, stands out from her peers, thanks to a routine ence’s reactions, Cody realized that his newfound comedic chops about the trials of growing up as the stepdaughter of a Secret Serwere applicable to his day-to-day work in PR. Once, after he vice agent. She’s so polished that Fletcher struggles to give her a watched his comedy tapes, it dawned on him that his habit of concritique. “You have such an economy of language,” he says. “After stant pacing signaled a lack of confidence rather than an abundance five words, there’s a laugh. Six words, there’s a laugh. Three words, of energy. “I must have been doing it wrong at client meetings,” he there’s a laugh.” says. “I was bouncing off the walls.” Then Fletcher turns to the rest of the group. “Is she known for Although Peppercom’s employees often approach the stage hesibeing funny?” he asks. “No? Well, now she is.” tantly, just about everyone walks away with at least a few laughs and —April Joyner a heightened sense of self-confidence. Their performances are taped For more presentation tips, check out www.inc.com/guides/ during the workshop so they can review them later, with Cody as how-to-improve-your-presentation-skills.html well as one of their peers. Afterward, employees continue to refine their delivery in pitch meetings. A few employees have even ventured onto a professional comedy stage, performing alongside Cody. Clients have taken notice. Soon after Cody began his comedy training, Peppercom produced an irreverent podcast about reputa- Copyright 2011 Mansueto Ventures LLC, publisher of Inc. magazine, New York, NY 10007. Reprinted with permission. #1-00000000 http://www.inc.com/guides/how-to-improve-your-presentation-skills.html

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