Use these tips to help overcome your fear and develop your confidence in public speaking.
In this article:
- Find Inspiration
- Harness Your Own Uniqueness
- Say Something Meaningful
- Know Your Stuff
- Manage Your Nerves
- Commit to Your Message
- Connect With Your Audience
- Use Body Language
- Try The Unexpected
- Speak Slowly And Pause
- Be Prepared for Mistakes
11 Ways Comedians Can Help You Gain Confidence In Public Speaking
1. Find Inspiration
If you have stage fright and you’re struggling with public speaking, it may be really helpful to find a public speaker you admire. Once you’ve identified someone, take some time to watch their performances and figure out what makes them an effective speaker.
You won’t have to look too far to find effective speakers. There are plenty of them across a variety of fields.
For example, successful comedians are excellent public speakers. Great comedians can deliver their message in an efficient and powerful manner.
So, if you’re having trouble finding inspiration, just look up your favorite comedian! They will not only make you laugh, but, if you pay attention, they may even help you pick up a few public speaking tips.
2. Harness Your Own Uniqueness
After finding inspiration and trying to learn from the best public speakers, you may be tempted to simply copy their style and personas. However, when you copy another public speaker’s style, you’re disregarding your own unique voice and perspective.
Think about what makes you different from everyone. Maybe it’s a unique perspective on certain issues, or perhaps a special interest in a specific field.
Allow your uniqueness to inform how you speak and even what you say. Remember, the audience values authenticity and will appreciate your unique delivery and perspective.
3. Say Something Meaningful
Most effective public speakers have something meaningful to say. You can use all the speech tips and tricks in the world, but the audience is likely to forget what you say if it isn’t meaningful.
Before you work on your delivery, you need to work on your message. Make sure you’re saying something that enriches your audience in one way or another.
4. Know Your Stuff
Once you have a clear and meaningful message, it’s time to prepare for the actual presentation. It’s very important to practice every aspect of your presentation.
Otherwise, you may end up simply reading from your visual aids. If this happens, you miss the opportunity to truly engage with your audience.
Here are a few tips for public speaking to help guide your practice:
- Try to memorize the flow of your presentation instead of memorizing it word-for-word. That way, you are to improvise and sound more natural.
- Practice with your visual aids. This helps you spot any gaps or errors in your visual aids before the presentation.
- Rehearse your speech as if you were in front of an audience. This helps prime your muscle memory for the performance.
- Gather some of your friends and practice in front of them. They can offer you feedback to improve your performance.
Remember, the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll appear to your audience.
5. Manage Your Nerves
As you lead up to your speaking engagement, it’s normal to experience a little anxiety, but don’t let your nervousness get the best of you.
Here are a few things you can do to manage your nerves:
- Visualize success – Don’t dwell on negative imagery or indulge in negative self-talk. To help build your self-confidence and improve your self-esteem, remember the positive aspects of your prior speaking engagements and imagine yourself giving another successful presentation.
- Limit caffeine intake – Caffeine is a natural stimulant, so it’ll make you more jittery if you’re already nervous.
- Exercise – Exercising releases endorphins, which helps reduce stress. So, use all of that nervous energy and pour it into a workout!
- Try controlled breathing – Your breathing becomes more shallow when you’re under stress. When you feel this happening, slow down and take a deep breath!
- Listen to something calming – On the day of your speaking engagement, try to avoid overthinking. Instead, keep yourself preoccupied with some calming music, a meditation guide, or a podcast.
Everyone gets a little stage fright every now and then, but there are things you can do to manage your nervous energy.
6. Commit to Your Message
Once you’re in front of your audience, there’s no turning back. You have to give it your all and commit to your message and the moment.
Comedians do this all the time. No matter how absurd their jokes might be, they’re committed to conveying it to their audience.
Remember, you need to believe in yourself and your message before anyone else can. No one else will buy your message if you aren’t committed to it.
7. Connect With Your Audience
Your audience is more likely to listen and pay attention if you’re engaging them in one way or another. Remember, your goal isn’t to just get through your presentation.
Your goal is to make your audience understand and, at the very least, consider your message. It’s best to make a connection with your audience at the beginning of your presentation—that way, they’re more likely to stay tuned in for the rest of your talk!
A good way to engage your audience is to use humor. Laughter is the best medicine, even when it comes to public speaking.
When you make your audience laugh, it lightens the mood and makes everyone (including you) feel more comfortable. On top of that, people are more likely to remember your message when you inject a little bit of humor in it.
8. Use Body Language
What is body language? It is a form of nonverbal communication used to convey messages. It includes posture, facial expressions, eye contact, and hand gestures.
You don’t have to rely solely on your voice to get your message across. Use your body to emphasize important points and to convey certain emotions when the presentation calls for it.
This is another great way to engage your audience. Adding a physical component to your presentation helps them focus on you and what you’re saying.
Tip: Body language is a great way to repurpose that nervous energy. So if you find public speaking anxiety creeping up on you while you’re in the middle of your presentation, try walking around onstage to stretch your muscles.
9. Try The Unexpected
People tend to get bored when things are predictable. If they think they know what you’re going to say, they won’t be motivated to listen and they’ll tune you out.
Think of comedians who talk about sensitive or seemingly taboo issues. It may cause some tension, but they have everyone’s attention!
To keep your audience on their toes, try injecting some unexpected moments in your presentation. Sprinkling a few surprises in your presentation is an effective way to keep your audience engaged.
10. Speak Slowly And Pause
An age-old public speaking tip is to speak slowly. When you talk fast, your audience may feel like you’re rushing through your message.
They may not pick up on all of the important points. Or worse, they may become frustrated or bored with your presentation.
When you feel like you’re going too fast, don’t hesitate to pause, breathe, and recalibrate. If you’re taking in some questions and need some time to formulate an answer, pausing is also a better alternative than filler words such as “um.”
11. Be Prepared for Mistakes
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes onstage. It happens all the time, even with the most seasoned speakers.
You may find it helpful to prepare for mistakes. Consider crafting a funny one-liner you can pull out of your pocket when something goes wrong.
If you react awkwardly to a mistake, those negative emotions may transfer to your audience and make them feel uncomfortable. Gracefully accepting and making light of your mistake can actually be a great opportunity to connect with your audience.
Learning how to speak confidently in public doesn’t happen overnight. It isn’t easy to develop self-confidence, but it’s important to step out of your comfort zone to exercise your public speaking skills.
It’s always helpful to have a positive attitude about public speaking. With each public speaking engagement, focus on the ways you’ve improved rather than what you did wrong.
Resolve to do better next time! Remember, the goal is progress, not perfection.
What do you struggle with the most as a public speaker? Tell us all about it in the comments section.