How Standup Comedy Can Make You a Better Public Speaker


Public speaking isn’t most people’s profession — but it can be a huge part of your overall professional success. Being a confident public speaker not only makes you more influential at work, it also helps you ensure that your ideas and information are being accurately represented.

To curb the natural nervousness many people feel around public speaking, a lot of speakers try to use humor to lighten the mood. And while stale jokes might not be the best approach, there is some good thinking behind that choice. To captivate as a public speaker, you don’t have to be funny, but you do want to be dynamic, engaging and be able to hold the audience in the palm of your hand. No one knows better how to do that than the best stand-up comics. They OWN the stage, understand structure, and can perform like nobody’s business.

You can, too.

It might seem strange, but comedy is a great place to look for public speaking tips. Seriously — watch stand-up comedy and look for these 5 secrets. Then put them to work.

1. Bask in the applause (or the laughter, as the case may be). Dynamic performers know that the audience not only wants to enjoy the performance…  they want to see YOU enjoying it too. When the pay-off comes, own the stage, take in the applause.

2. Control the timing. Watch comics for their timing. They know when to pause, and how to work the set-up, the delivery, and the payoff. Study them like it is a science… because it is.

3. Understand the rule of three. Bada-bing, bada-bang, bada-BOOM. The third in a series LANDS with us more powerfully.

4. Don’t explain. If you have to explain a joke… It’s just not funny. No joke gets funnier with explanation. Choose a better joke or let it go altogether.

5. When you’re done? Get off the stage. Take a bow, receive the applause, and then get off the stage. Don’t dilly-dally or add on extras.

Comedy and public speaking aren’t that different; borrow these tips and you’re on your way to being a more confident, heroic public speaker, no matter what stage you’re on.

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