How Stand-Up Made Him a Better Business Leader: A Q&A with Tommy Hilcken

Home > Blog > How Stand-Up Made Him a Better Business Leader: A Q&A with Tommy Hilcken

New Jersey is rich in small businesses and big personalities — sometimes, those elements can work hand in hand. Such is the case with a beloved leader, colleague, and friend Tommy Hilcken, an entrepreneur and comedian who noticed skills that could use sharpening and a business that could flourish in the B2B world and beyond: public speaking.

Yes, public speaking can be daunting — but the gifts of its rewards are far mightier. How many panels, Ted Talks, or round tables have we sat through where the leader was dull, uninspired, and soft-spoken? Confidence and articulation spark others to engage on a similar level. Tommy’s training also shows how team spirit and self-esteem rise with the ability to command a room’s attention. And yet, his skills and teachings are not one’s workers from a number of industries invest in despite their great importance.

What many do not recognize is the value and return of Tommy’s training: the ability to lead talks increases your visibility, expands your brand, and proves you are an expert in your field. Below, learn about Tommy’s process and the importance of his specific and desirable skillsets. And, how stand-up made him a better business leader…

I want to rewind first: how did you come to start your business? Did you notice a need for it in the field?

For the last 30 years, I have been performing on stage…clowning, comedy, magic. It’s been my life. A few years back I realized I had a skill that most people needed to have — I then created my training program High Impact Presentations and Public Speaking Confidence. Helping people to step up and stand out amongst the crowd. Personal growth and professional growth wrapped up in one program!

I know you like to incorporate humor into your presentations; do you have any history in standup or just a keen awareness that humor works in building connections?

I have always had a keen sense of humor and knew early on that humor is a great connector.

Indeed it is! What recurring themes do you notice in your training — or, what issues do you feel like people come to you with again and again that your services can alleviate?

It is usually based around the fear of failing. People tend to think too much about what they are going to look and sound like instead of just going for it and making it happen. The learning is in the doing when it comes to presenting; the more you do it the easier it becomes.

Public speaking, self-taping, and sales training are vital skills, and yet people seem to not put much effort into their voice work. Why do you think that is?

I notice many people look at training and can’t wrap their head around the cost. I always remind people there is a much bigger cost of not training.

True. And does your training vary at all as you work with different clients or types of business?

I train everyone the same – finding what makes them tick and position the program around their behavioral style. I am a firm believer that personal growth preceded professional growth. Take the time to invest in yourself.

For more information about Tommy Hilcken and his business, visit

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