Stand Up to Stand Out

More and more women are having to make speeches at social events. It is now quite normal for women to have to share anecdotes at family gatherings, such as wedding breakfasts. Professional women are encouraged to share their experiences on public and media platforms. Communication skills are increasingly important for achieving personal and professional success.

Humour is a valuable form of self expression that women can learn in order to find their true voice. And tapping your own personal funny bone can be extremely empowering!

Funny Women, who are at the vanguard of nurturing and promoting female comedy talent, has taken what it’s learned through developing and producing live comedy to create bespoke corporate events and interactive workshops. Over the last seven years over 1,000 women have found their comedy voice through workshops, one to one coaching and live events.

I asked Lynne Parker, founder and CEO at Funny Women to tell us more about Stand Up to Stand Out
“The workshops take two forms. One is an open workshop, with participants from a number of different companies and the second is a corporate event, where those taking part come from within the same organisation. In both cases there are 10 women, no men. Having women only in the workshops allows a different dynamic to develop, women feel more confident in standing up in front of other women. The workshops aim to build on this and build confidence generally so that the women then feel comfortable standing up at any event, meeting or special occasion. ”

“There is a different dynamic in an open workshop than a corporate event. Where the women know each other they already have some preconceptions about how each will behave. Additionally, they may feel constrained by their workplace roles, particularly if they are in the presence of their boss!”

“In the workshop we use the natural female skills to build activities over a two hour period, leading to each woman standing up and giving a two minute ‘performance‘. I use the experience I have gained over the last 8 years from running the Funny Women competitions at venues around the UK, coupled with my previous experience in communication and training, to ensure that the wowmen at the workshop learn the skills needed. Essentially I show them how stand up comedians learn to stand up in front of an audience. These are transferrable skills. We do not expect women at the workshops to go on into stand up comedy, though some do, but the kills they learn will be useful in the workplace and in their private lives. The key to success for most comedians is that they have masses of material to call upon as and when they need it. Women at our workshops learn how to organise information in order to make an effective presentation.”

“People tend to forget that humour plays a huge part in the lives of women acroos the world. Think of women in a kitchen preparing food and cooking together. There is lots of chat and lots of fun and lots of laughter. Somehow when taken out of that type of environment women can feel inhibited and feel that, especially in mixed company, that they should be ‘seen and not heard‘. We aim to change that in our Stand Up To Stand Out workshops. Men have had to get used to female comedians on the circuit and on TV and they will now have to get used to more women public speakers!”

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