Developing An Audience


Business is about developing an audience. Eventually they might buy what you’re selling. More importantly, they might advocate for you. Here’s a perspective from my comedy sideline that I think is relevant to the LinkedIn professional mindset.

A punter from my comedy festival show last night texted me afterwards. He makes an interesting point about audience development. One of my festival goals was to develop my own audience, as I think it should be for all of us, but overall it is about developing the overall audience within NZ. We still hear that tall poppy cultural cringe crap often enough. As did NZ music 25 years ago (and look at it now.) So, I take some satisfaction that in my own small way I’m chipping away. I actually start my show surveying my audience as to who’s been to other live comedy shows. I’ve had 170ish punters and all but 7 had never been. Never. Here’s his perspective (He dragged along 30+ people):
“Great Show. Really intelligent material. Funny!!! Impressed everyone on the team. More than half never been to something of that ilk before and weren’t quite sure what they were letting themselves in for.. Consensus was that great understated compliment….”F**k! I had no idea. We must do that again.” Well done that man. Good fortune for the rest of the show.”

I like being part of an ‘ilk’. ;-)

Two more shows to go. Minimal tickets left.

The Gratitude Attitude


Attending shows and performing in a comedy festival with a really supportive community of comedians whilst the NBA playoffs are on in an Internet age where I have non judgemental dogs and no immediate family members in jail or hospital just before the last Wednesday of the month which is ‘all you can eat ribs night’ at Coast in Orewa. I’ve peaked. I express gratitude.

The Hyper Super Mega Ultimate Show


I have a one-hour solo show in Auckland in the upcoming New Zealand International Comedy Festival. It’s on at Q Theatre in Queen Street, May 12-16 at 8:45pm. The first three nights have sold out but there’s still plenty of tickets left for the Friday and Saturday. If you’ve got friends, family or colleagues in Auckland who like smart, relatively inoffensive humour with a subtle bit of learning and inspiration amongst the laughter, please do on-share the info.

Tickets available here.

Remain awesome.


You Cannot Be Serious! What Can We Learn From Those Epic-Fail ‘Idol’ Auditions…


Here’s a recent podcast of mine about the Dunning Kruger Effect. It’s a useful phenomenon to be aware of when leading different types of people, especially when needing to give performance feedback of any kind. There are two sub-groups of people who are least accurate at assessing their own levels of performance: the very excellent and the very non-excellent. Most people are average or either side of it and their self-assessments are ‘there or thereabouts.’ The high performers become high performers because they underestimate how good they are (or should / could be) and try harder and smarter as a result. AND they continue to improve through deliberate and focused practice built on feedback.

The best illustration of the other end of the scale where poor performers never improve because they either never receive feedback (or effective feedback) or they are closed to it are the auditioners for any of those Idol-type shows where security has to escort them off the premises. They characterise perfectly the Dunning Kruger Effect. They simply cannot believe they’re being told “No” and that they’re not the next Mariah. Their dramatic OTT response is great for these shows and symptomatic of why they’re never going to get any better without a substantial external intervention in their lives. Or never. How many of these people have you worked with over your career? Here’s John Cleese’s interpretation.

All sweeping generalisations but an interesting lens through which to look at your team.




The Future Of HR: HR2115

Safety robot

Here’s my latest podcast about the future of HR in 2115 after I mis-read a brief from my editor for an article that was supposed to be about HR in 2015. I liked my idea better…







Focus – Good Thing Bad Thing


This news article is about how one cricket legend gave a few pointers to a current cricketer and it worked out really well with him getting the highest ever world cup score – Martin Crowe mentoring Martin Guptill before his 237*.

I watched the game. It was awesome. Deserved pats on the back all round.

A key point of Crowe’s advice for the batsman was to look for the gaps not the fielders. It seems a common approach is for batsmen to spend those few moments before they get bowled at looking around at the fieldsmen so as not to hit the ball at them. Crowe flipped that logic. Genius in its simplicity. Remember those old psychology experiments asking participants to not think of a polar bear and that was instantly all anyone could think of? Don’t look down.  Don’t spill the milk. Damn you brain.

Tell people what to do not what not to do. Focus on the gaps.


Live Work Love: #Add10QualityYears


Hey everyone, my latest podcast is coming out later today but, just quickly, I’m running a limited-time promo for my book ‘Live Work Love: #Add10QualityYears.’ The Kindle version is temporarily free. Unlike retail stores crazy promos, you cannot get trampled in the rush so please do drop all civility and stampede to Amazon. And please do pass on the link. Thanks all.



Here’s my latest podcast – this one on the subject of mindset. A quick 5-minute summary of some of the research around this and how it can affect / constrain / direct our decisions and behaviour (and the decisions and behaviour of the people we lead.)








My latest podcast, this one on the subject of grit. Supposedly grit / determination / perseverance / resilience is one of the greater characteristics of successful people. Obviously, there’s a time to walk away and not flog a dead horse but I talk about some of the research substantiating that idea. Certainly people who constantly give up are more likely to not be successful. Wasn’t it Homer Simpson who said, “Trying is the first step to failing.”







Feedback: The Comedy Lab Experience

labI blog about engaging people – employees, customers, people generally. One major tool for achieving that is feedback, in the broadest sense of the word. I also have a bit of a sideline as a stand-up comedian. I have a show in the comedy festival coming up in May. As part of that, the festival folk run a series of shows beforehand as mini preview workshops. It’s a weird and surreal experience as a performer. Performing stand-up isn’t that normal generally but this is really putting ourselves out there.

The format has an MC who’s more of a facilitator. The ticket is free and the show is advertised as what it is – not a normal show. The crowd on my night was a whole lot of people who seemed to really know their comedy as consumers or fans or officionados. They were a good test crowd generally. They laughed if they thought it was funny and they didn’t if they didn’t. Which is what you want as a performer trying out stuff en masse for the first time. Each performer did 15 minutes then sat on a chair on stage for 10 minutes while the MC facilitated out questions to the audience. I’ve been doing comedy for 10+ years and I regret not having an experience like this sooner – undiluted, instant, specific reactions. Plus a fair few new ideas to build the content.

I thought it might be a good blog topic as I walked away, abuzz to get writing and re-writing the comedy but with a parallel thought as to how much this would be a useful idea to anyone in any kind of job. Plumbers, salespeople, neuro-surgeons (they don’t like being called ‘brain surgeons.’ You know what they say about brain surgery? It’s not neuro-surgery!)

The very next day I was running a training workshop (or as I like to call them, a ‘learning workshop. It was on communication for a team of sales reps for a wine brand. I told them the comedy lab story and they took it on board and put it in play for their own workshop.

It really worked.

Maybe ask yourself, how can you set up an environment at your workplace for newbies or not-so-newbies to bolster their ‘performance’ and hone their ‘material’ in a safe but constructively challenging way?



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