I sometimes describe Naomi Ekperigin as a millennial Aretha Franklin who does comedy. She’s so funny, so deep, and so animated in delivery both with her body and her facial expressions. It makes what she’s saying even better.
I had the good fortune to meet Naomi this year, and chat with her on Twitter later on. And since my brain is so curious about what performers do to make their work alive, and figure out how the rest of us can actually apply it, I asked her about her dynamic delivery. I’d much rather you don’t think ‘Well I can’t be that dynamic’ and instead think ‘How can her advice help me be more dynamic?’ Lucky for us, Naomi is a very good comedy teacher! This is what she said:
“For me physicality is crucial. I move around as a way of being present. I’m trying to get out of my head and into my body. I think all those theater and improv exercises over the years helped. For non-theater kids, once you’ve got your speech/ talking points down, put the paper or cards away and go through the presentation with someone while doing something physical (that has you standing upright): while you’re cooking dinner; throwing a ball back and forth; or dancing. (I know some people hate dancing, so even if it’s just a side-to-side step touch.)
I was up crazy early to fly to a gig, landed at 6pm, had to be on stage at 8. The last thing I wanted to do after all that travel was talk for 50 minutes. So I had to move around on stage, I had to get the energy in my body to get it to my brain. When you move around, you’ll get out of your head, not think about each perfect word, and maybe even find a new addition or re-word that feels more comfortable or is clearer.”
To apply this: try out what our brilliant performance teacher says! Say your message/speech/elevator pitch with someone while doing something physical. Whatever it takes so that when you’re saying it, you’re not in your head but rather focused on the joy of sharing and paying attention to the feedback you’re getting from your listener’s expressions.