Tag Archives: John Cooper

What do Google analytics and a stand-up comedy skills workshop have in common?

While helping a business client increase traffic to their website, I remarked how their Google Analytics marketing reports weren’t so different from taking a stand up comedy skills workshop.

That might sound like an odd thing to say – but the more I thought about it the more the comparison holds up.

Google Analytics reports feedback what’s happening on a website, what people are looking at and responding to. How long they stay engaged, and if they connect…becoming a customer or a fan. You can even see it in real time.

For that particular website, we added some recent case studies and removed technical jargon. By doing that we changed the language – the website’s voice – and added relatable stories (short case study videos) to draw people in and acquire new customers.

I used this metaphor again this week quite fittingly, at my first workshop at the Google Digital Garage in Manchester. They were really supportive in providing me with a space to lead my all elbows ‘Present Yourself!‘ comedy workshop, which mixes stand up comedy with presentation skills, team games, improv, public speaking tips and interpersonal skills all rolled together.

It covers the same ground as analytics, but with less artificial intelligence. It’s for humans instead of websites. It’s all about understanding your audience. How to stay engaged and avoid attention span ‘bounce rate’, and the language we use tell stories and connect with others. Again, all in real time. I guess you might call it the discussion points we have as  ‘human analytics’.

Human Analytics (in front of an audience) :

  • Audience. Make eye contact with them, this will give you all the data you’ll need.
  • Behaviour. Be aware of your body language, relax and be comfortable.
  • Engagement. If what you’re saying isn’t working experiment off script with a different approach  -this is where the scary fun learning happens.
  • Acquisition. Don’t try too hard to be funny. Just be yourself. Let your audience, or customers, come to you.

The feedback since I started running these sessions in 2015 has been great. Together with the help of the  Business Growth Hub  it’s evident that business leaders across the North West are really keen to integrate this kind of skills workshop into their own team training programmes.

Contact Rocket Steps to discuss how this training can help your business.

Call:  or
Email: info@rocketsteps.co.uk

A Pint of Science?

In May I presented a three day event in Manchester for The Pint of Science Festival & researchers from The University of Manchester. It was a feast of brain food for the naturally curious, and they were looking for someone to do hosting duties. I got the gig.

The Festival has been running for 8 years and brings researchers into local pubs all over the UK to get people interested in science, in this case machine thinking, extreme engineering and big data. Now I’m no scientist and a comedian as opposed to presenter  -the nearest I get to science is Doctor Who or reading Douglas Adams novel. However my geek credentials and curiosity served me well, even if the audience preferred hard research over warm up jokes, I was just the messenger.

Social media was big and #pintofscience trended on Twitter during the live events (there were 21 in Manchester alone!) When organiser Becky took a photo of myself and the other professors, we all put our drinks down out of shot – until she reminded us that it was the pint of Science Festival and drinks in hand were preferred!

Highlights for me were Professor Steve Furber’s Spinnaker Project. He had worked on the BBC Micro and Archimedes computers which filled my with nostalgia. Dr Mostafa Nabawy and his bio-inspired micro robots. Making tiny spiders that jump and flies that fly sounded like a Sci-fi disaster movie waiting to happen. Dr Katie Druce’s talk on ‘what people mean when they say they don’t sleep’ and how it can be monitored was as clever as it was easy to understand, using fitbits to monitor activity at night in the bedroom (SLEEPING!). Also I particularly enjoyed ProfessorDavid Berezan’s Sounds of the sea, which uses real time data from sea buoys to create a dynamic soundscape. The combination of data, process and improvisation to create a hypnotic nautical composition pressed all of my buttons, and it was no surprise when we chatted that we are both fans of Delia Derbyshire and the BBC radiophonic workshop.

Big thanks to Becky Dodd and all the organisers at the University of Manchester for letting me share the stage, and for keeping me watered with some very good cider courtesy of the Beer Nouveau venue.

Micro Drones are here to take over the world!
Micro Drones are here to take over the world!