What stand-up comedy can teach us about freelancing

I don’t know what’s on your bucket list, but until recently, I had just two things:

1. Sit in the front row of an NBA basketball game.

2. Take a stand-up comedy class.

After years of — let’s be honest — being too afraid to do it, last fall, I finally followed my wife Linda’s encouragement and signed up for an eight-week class at ImprovBoston in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It was, in a word, terrific.

Every Wednesday, for two hours, a dozen of us got together and, with the help of an instructor, learned the basics while trying out our material on each other.

At week nine, there was a showcase night, during which we all performed for an audience of friends, family and one guy who got the dates mixed up and came to the wrong show.

While I’m a long way from hosting a Netflix special (although I would entertain offers), as a stand-up “graduate,” I have learned a lot.

And not just about stand-up, but about communication in general. All of which relate to the things you do in the name of promoting your professional service business…

1. Content and delivery are not the same thing.

Our assignment each week was to show up with three minutes of

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