"The sessions with Chris were really inspiring. Chris managed to create a safe setting so people could really engage and participate in the assignments without hesitation. We learned how to break with the usual way of making and doing presentations and received some very good tools to improve the way of presenting. On top of this the sessions were really good for team building."
Django Weisz (Superheroes agency, Amsterdam)
STAND-UP & IMPROV SPEAKING AND PRESENTING WORKSHOPS FOR BUSINESS
Drawing on techniques from stand-up & improv to help you be a better, more confident and more natural speaker.
In London, the UK, internationally and online
Picture: Chris arriving at Superheroes agency, Amsterdam
Many people don't like public speaking and presenting - and don't like workshops in it either! Being forced to get up and speak in a training context can be excruciating and the lessons are often unmemorable and generic.
But most people are terrified of the idea of stand-up comedy and improv. So how on earth could that help?
* my workshops are FUN.
* I know how to make it feel safe and playful.
* I know how to get people up on their feet quickly
* and how to get you relaxing and playing before you know it.
With fast paced activities that get people relaxing and laughing from the outset - even the most resistant - you are soon comfortable getting up and speaking in front of each other in a range of entertaining presenting games and exercises so that:
* Your confidence grows
* Your are allowed to be yourself and speak in your own playful way
* You have the experience of speaking as something enjoyable to do and to watch.
And crucially you are learning speaking tricks and techniques and how to use them in your own way. But it's all happening by stealth.
When we reflect on what you've experienced, yes it'd been more informal than a work presentation, but you'll see how you can take what you've learned and transform your formal speaking too.
Depending on the depth you want to go into and what you want to cover, this can all happen in:
Half a day
Across 2 days
I have years of experience in a huge range of businesses helping people, speak, present and pitch with my inspirational workshops based in stand-up and improv. There are so many transferable skills that stand-up and improv teach you (and if you go for the stand-up course itself, once you have done stand-up comedy no other kind of speaking or presenting holds any fears.) And it's about so much more than simply being funny. Learn how to land a message, connect with your audience, find your speaking persona and deal with heckling (aka unhelpful challenges and questions).
Clients include PwC, M&C Saatchi (Lida), Superheroes (Amsterdam), MRM Meteorite, 101 London, 180 Kingsday Amsterdam, Bank Paribas (Amsterdam), UBS, Allen & Overy, McCann, Grayling, Warner Brothers, MUFG, Severn Trent, Digitas, The Mill, Institute of Water, Brandwalk, ITV, Channel 4, George P Johnson, Google.
"So transferrable can stand-up skills be to other industries that Head now gets hired in-house by ad agencies, banks and law firms to give courses to employees to help them with things like pitching or giving presentations." Creative Review
Here are my standard offerings. And I always speak with clients to make sure what I do will fit exactly what you need and often devise a bespoke offering.
BE A BRILLIANT SPEAKER
1 hour talk
I can deliver an entertaining, inspiring and practical hour long talk on speaking brilliantly. To make it bespoke, your people pick videos of examples of great speaking - previously these have ranged from Michelle Obama to Joe Lycett - and can include speakers from your own industry.
I use these clips to illustrate the points I'm making. This makes for a great end to a day of training or can be a lunchtime presentation.
"Just a quick note to thank you again for your session at our event on Tuesday. Appreciate all your efforts and delivering something that was entertaining and thought provoking (plus clean enough not to offend anyone)..."
Will, PwC London
BE A COMPELLING PRESENTER USING TOOLS FROM STAND-UP AND IMPROV
2 hours/ half day or full day
In this workshop you'll learn to brand new presenting skills. For example have you thought about:
- misdirecting your audience
- using a rule-of-three
- working in a set-up/ payoff rhythm
- aiming for a series of surprises in your presentation?
Chances are you haven't thought of using one or more of these techniques and yet these are the techniques that stand-ups and improvisers draw on all the time.
And they are not just about being funny. While they can definitely help you be more reliably funny when you want to be, they can be used to make serious points more compelling and memorable.
In fact, even if that list drew a bit of a blank with you, you may well find that you do some of them instinctively and giving it a name means you can do it more readily next time.
Plus we look at identifying and enhancing your own unique presenting and speaking style.
BE A COMPELLING STORYTELLER: USING TOOLS FROM STAND-UP AND IMPROV
2 hour, half-a day or full-day workshop
Stories are of the best way to communicate anything so it's a really fundamental skill. And there's loads of great storytelling improv games you can do to get into the swing of it and learn these skills. Then I help you structure and deliver your story. And it's all working on the principle:
THE ART IS TO CONCEAL THE ART:
So it is carefully worked out and rehearsed... but it looks casual and spontaneous. And it's also about internalising skills and structures so a story is more likely to come out well formed even when it really is spontaneous.
Also it's about everyone doing it in their own way. There's no one size fits all.
KINDS OF STORIES
As examples of the kinds of stories we can work on:
- a story from your life
- a story from your career
- a story from the business
- the story of your brand
PITCHING IDEAS TO CLIENTS
Two day workshop
For Creative Agencies
This training will set you up to do more inspiring, compelling and personal pitching.
Groups (of around 4 or 5) are are given real world material to pitch. The workshop develops new perspectives and techniques and builds up to pitching to guest clients! (They are either willing genuine clients or colleagues from the business role-playing as clients.)
Day 1: Morning: Warm up and practical speaking exercises
Afternoon: You pitch. I feedback to on what's working - and what you need to work on. Here we identify all sorts of speaking and presenting techniques.
Day 2 Morning: Each group present their revised pitches for further coaching.
Afternoon: Guest clients come in who everyone pitches to!
STAND-UP COMEDY COURSE!
6-8 weekly sessions & a show
This is the hardcore option! Your people do a stand-up course leading to a show in front of colleagues and friends in a stand-up comedy club.
There are so many transferable skills that stand-up teaches you and what's more once you have done stand-up comedy no other kind of speaking or presenting holds any fears.
Most notably I ran the full stand-up course annually for the LIDA agency (part of M&C Saatchi) for eight years.
“At LIDA we invest in a wide range of training. As part of the mix we have been engaging Chris Head to run his stand-up comedy course. Ten people from across the agency, across a wide range of disciplines and levels sign up. I can honestly say it is a truly brilliant course that I couldn’t recommend highly enough. Its fantastic for the individual - building confidence, self awareness and presentation skills. It's brilliant team building for the team that sign up each year and it is culturally part of our LIDA DNA now. The course culminates in a show. A night the whole agency gets behind and looks forward to. The best value for money training. Chris is simply brilliant.” Victoria Fox, CEO at LIDA (M&C Saatchi)
ONE-TO-ONE SPEECH COACHING
If you have an important speaking gig coming up and want it to be as good as it can be, I'll work with you on content and delivery to get it a place you're delighted with.
I have just worked with an author ahead of a book tour and the director of a book festival who does a speech to open proceedings.
I have worked with a neuroscientist and a computational biologist helping them present their work to general audiences - plus a mathematician/ TV presenter.
This is very much bespoke so please get in touch to discuss your needs.
"“Chris Head taught my that the story comes first, how to involve the audience, and where to put the jokes. If you want to give talks that entertain as they inform, he’s an extraordinary guide!”
Kieran Setiya, author of "Life is Hard: How Philosophy Can Help Us Find Our Way"
The stand-up course
This is the option that takes your team through the process of finding their comedy voice, writing material and performing it so it works. Incrcible speaking skills guaranteed.
Image: The team at McCann London enjoying their colleagues' end-of-course stand-up show
And above is a video that gives flavour of the show.
And this is what the Lida stand-up course attendees said:
"Chris himself was inspiring, really knew his stuff and engaged all of us (even the more reluctant among us) from the word go."
"He got to know us all personally and encouraged us to build on our strengths rather than fashioning a particular style."
"The buzz of actually getting up on stage was amazing and brought me closer to colleagues that I may otherwise not have gotten the chance to meet."
OUTCOMES AS REPORTED BY THE STUDENTS
• Improved self-confidence
• Aware of my delivery style in presentations, in meetings, even with my mates!
• Discover your real personality and how you can use it to your professional benefit.
• New friends guaranteed
• No corporate ‘team building’ bollocks can even come close - comradery experienced on a whole new level
• A tremendous sense of achievement and gratitude to the agency for investing in that feeling.
• An unforced, un-corporate learning environment
• The feeling of being in an elite club belonging to those who had the balls to do it
Across eight weeks you will be guided through developing your persona, creating material and delivering it so it works - and you'll put it all into practice in a special stand-up show on the last night of the course.
The all inclusive fee for the 8 weeks course in London is £3,500.
(Happy to discuss other locations).
This is for 10-16 attendees, taking place at your location. (A training room can be supplied at an additional fee). It includes the end-of-course show at a London stand-up comedy club.
Read about the career confidence benefits of my stand-up training in the London Evening Standard.
"Chris is - I say this rarely - a genius. He draws out your ideas and helps you shape them so they work. Then he shows you how to land them with power. And he does is with a real groundedness and calm that is hugely confidence building."
Over nine million views for the TEDx talk Chris directed and script-edited.
180 Kingsday (Amsterdam)
"Working with Chris was an absolute pleasure. He built a bespoke 2 day course for our team that was practical and entertaining allowing them to put the tools and advice into practice straight away."
Stephen Corlett, MD, 180 Kingsday (ad agency) Amsterdam
Bank Paribas (Amsterdam)
“We are an international team of portfolio managers working for BNP Paribas, and located in Hong Kong, Louisville in the US and Amsterdam. All of us have client contact and hold presentations on a regular basis.
For our annual team meeting in Amsterdam we were looking for a course which would help us to improve our presentation skills and at the same time could serve as a team building event. When searching through the vast offering of courses on the internet we found the Chris Head course on improving presentation skills using stand-up comedy techniques. This seemed to be the perfect one-day course for our team and we therefore invited the trainer Chris to come over to Amsterdam.
Chris gave us a day completely filled with funny exercises, good discussions on dos and don'ts when speaking for clients and some nice examples of a few of the best stand-up comedians out there. We really enjoyed the way he taught us how to handle hecklers and the course certainly helped us to get to know a lot more about each other. Therefore the team building targets were certainly met and we will also be much better equipped the next time we'll be presenting in front of our clients.”
Simon Devereux, Bank Paribas, Amsterdam
LIDA (M&C Saatchi)
“At LIDA we invest in a wide range of training. As part of the mix we have been engaging Chris Head to run an eight week stand-up comedy course for the last 8 years. Ten people from across the agency, across a wide range of disciplines and levels sign up. I can honestly say it is a truly brilliant course that I couldn’t recommend highly enough. Its fantastic for the individual - building confidence, self awareness and presentation skills. It's brilliant team building for the team that sign up each year and it is culturally part of our LIDA DNA now. The course culminates in a show. A night the whole agency gets behind and looks forward to. The best value for money training. Chris is simply brilliant.”
Victoria Fox, CEO at LIDA (M&C Saatchi)
"Briefed to bring presentation tips, insights and a bit of levity to our global meetings, Chris just delivers in spades. He's a great communicator and eminently clever - easy to brief and completely reliable. He thoroughly impressed middle and executive management alike - and that makes me look good!"
Carter Jackson, Chief of Staff, International
Creative Review magazine
Chris is interviewed about coaching stand-up skills to ad agencies to improve presentation and pitching.
In a lunchtime lecture, a much younger Chris shows how stand-up comedy skills can enliven and punch out a dry corporate message.