It took me a long time to figure out how to describe what I do. I wasn’t purely a comedian or a speaker or a financial planner.
I finally cracked it with Financial Comedian or, even more accurately, Comedic Financial Speaker. Do those job titles sound made up to you? They should. Because I made them up.
So what is a Financial Comedian? Good question!
A Financial Comedian is a motivational speaker who uses humor, storytelling and interaction to engage the audience in a conversation about money.
“We were super impressed with how engaged our students were in Colin’s message, and how willing they were to share. Colin brings that out in people with his authentic and relatable way of talking to the crowd.”
– Mary, Director of Career Services, University of Vermont
Ok, but how does this benefit me and my financial education goals? Another good question! You’ve probably noticed that “Finance” and “Lecture” tend to go hand in hand. But it’s actually a topic nobody wants to be lectured about.
“This is what you’re doing wrong and what you need to change immediately.”
“The decisions you make today will affect the entire rest of your life.”
“You know how you’re having fun with money? Well that needs to stop right now.”
“Money isn’t a game. Money doesn’t grow on trees. There are no free lunches.”
Imagine how you would feel being on the receiving end of that. You might think, “Wow, do you have anything positive to say?”
Here’s the thing. Everyone wants to talk about money. They just don’t want to be bored, and they don’t want to feel judged. There’s a lot of room between those two ways of experiencing financial advice. Here is why I use each of the three tools of humor, storytelling and interaction.
I use humor as a “state break,” keeping the audience from feeling overwhelmed when I’m teaching an important but possibly-discouraging point.
I tell stories because stories are more memorable. A Guardian study found that only 5% of attendees recalled a statistic after a presentation, while over 63% recalled a story.
I use interaction by asking lots of questions throughout my talk, because my biggest objective is to create a space where people can see that their fear of being judged for their financial ignorance or financial misbehavior is unfounded. Despite our fears, it’s actually okay to talk about money. By helping people dislodge that myth, they become free to ask their “dumb” questions, and to share stories of their own, whether it’s teaching others through a mistake they’re made or sharing their own hard-earned financial wisdom in a memorable way.
I want people to walk away feeling positive, empowered, and confident in the realization that they are in many ways already doing better with finances than they may have thought. And that becomes a foundation they can build on through workshops, financial counseling, further research, and lots and lots of hands-on practice. We call it personal finance for a reason!
Check out this list of 8 Ways to Get Funding for your next financial education event.
Take a look at my calendar to find a date to bring me to your area.
Colin Ryan, CPFC is the author of “A Comedic Guide to Money,” has been featured everywhere from NPR to The Moth Radio Hour, and speaks all over the country.