What I Learned from the Warm, Wise and Witty Southern Humorist Jeanne Robertson

My cheeks hurt. That’s because I spent this weekend constantly smiling in the company of Jeanne Robertson. Do you know Jeanne Robertson? JeanneRobertson

This 70-year-old, 6′ 2″ former Miss North Carolina has been spreading her hilarious brand of southern humor for decades at sold-out venues throughout the world. However, you may have recently discovered Jeanne from her comedy segments on Sirius Radio or one of her YouTube videos. She has more than 20 million views.

The epitome of grace, Jeanne clearly lives her life joyfully on purpose. She was our guest speaker at Saturday’s meeting of the Georgia chapter of the National Speakers Association. My fellow board members and I shared dinner with her the night before.

Through her presentation, “More Funny, More Money,” Jeanne explained how professional speakers can add more humor to talks that will further engage and endear us to our audiences. With a generous spirit and no hint of ego that sometimes comes with excelling in this profession, she showed us how to take people along with us in our stories through our facial expressions, by how we move around the stage, and through the key words we emphasize. When embellishing our true stories, she said, it’s always funnier to give someone else the punch line. Brilliant!

To find the humor in everyday life, Jeanne recommends keeping a journal of observations that can turn into entertaining and often thought-provoking material. At our meeting, she flipped through her notes and tried out some of her fresh material for our feedback. That got me thinking. Since we tend to focus on what’s going wrong, I often recommend keeping a gratitude journal to remind us of all the good in our lives. Humor journaling takes it one step further. And you don’t have to be a professional speaker to appreciate its value.

Think about the funny things your kids say, that odd interaction at the supermarket last week, a bumper sticker you noticed on your commute, or something amusing that happened at work today. By making note of everyday humor, you can use it in stories with a friend at lunch or when you make professional presentations to cleverly illustrate a point or simply for your own pleasure.

Humorous stories increase connection, make you more memorable, and often help reduce stress as we laugh at ourselves, with others and about life. May you have many reasons to smile–until your cheeks hurt!

5 thoughts on “What I Learned from the Warm, Wise and Witty Southern Humorist Jeanne Robertson

  1. Rich Hart Reply

    Jeanne Robertson at NSA Georgia.. a great experience how we as speakers create uniqueness through humor… to fill the hearts and minds of our listeners. Humor is all around us… so find the funny to be funny and pass the funny to those who need funny.

    Thank you NSA Georgia for a great program…

  2. Jim Hogan Reply

    Seldom in a lifetime do most people have the opportunity to meet someone as talented and hard working as Jeanne Robertson, but to actually interact with and gain such wonderful insight into her success is priceless. The best part is that as a member of NSA Georgia, we get to meet other professional speakers all year long, although none as funny as Jeanne.

  3. Tricia Molloy Reply

    Thanks for your comments, Jim and Rich. I thought our last meeting was one of the best ever. March 22nd with Lou Heckler will be just as good, especially now that we know he’s the only professional Jeanne ever paid to punch up her material. That says it all!

  4. June Cline Reply

    GREAT Blog recap, Tricia, on an AMAZING program with Jeanne Robertson at NSA Georgia. There just are no words for the consummate, giving and caring professional that she is. (Humble as she is, she hates when we talk like that!). Lou Heckler will be AMAZING as well. Like I say when people ask why I’ve been a member of NSA for over 23 years, I reply, “Because it’s simply the BEST place for growth in my profession of professional speaking for three reasons: Continued Education (from the VERY BEST), Community (because it can get lonely out here), and Connections (building relationships that can last a life time that sometimes evolve in to referred work. Can it get any better than this??? It does at NSA Georgia. Great Blog, Tricia. Thank you, for posting it!

    • Tricia Molloy Reply

      Thanks, June! You did a great job on the panel, critiquing the four members who presented humorous stories. Everyone attending gained from your comments.

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