First, have an argument. State a proposition and defend it, “even if that proposition is, ‘Jorge is the most lovable screw-up I ever met,’ ” says Jay Heinrichs, author of Word Hero (R164, Kalahari). Next, tame your imagination. “People always say, ‘Picture the audience naked.’ I don’t get that. I’d be, like, ‘Why is that guy’s penis a different colour than the rest of his body?’ ” says comedian Nick Kroll. “Instead, picture a person who thinks you’re funny – like your mom. And don’t picture her naked.” As you build to a big finish, keep in mind how you want to portray yourself. Funny guy? Sincere friend? “Clarify your relationship with your subject. Then get into the storytelling,” Heinrichs says. “Be clear and succinct. Acknowledge counterarguments, and then overcome them with logic. Save the emotion for last. Make your audience laugh or cry or, ideally, both.”
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