This Won't Help You Gain Speaking Confidence—But They are Telling You to Do it.

21th Issue of Newsletter

Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety


Have you ever been given any of the following tips to become a confident public speaker?

  • Start your speech with a joke
  • Picture the audience in underwear
  • Don't use fillers when speaking
  • Your delivery must be perfect

Well, it's bad advice if you are still struggling with your speaking anxiety.

Let's see why.

1 - Start Your Speech with a Joke

Not a good idea!

If you are a beginner public speaker, I would advise against it.

Here's why:

The other day, as a second speaker of the day, I tried to open my speech at the Toastmasters Club meeting with this joke:

"You have listened to the funny speech, now it's time for a boring one".

Yeah, I was trying to be funny.

But ...

My joke fell flat.

No one laughed—only a few pitiful smiles.

It made me feel bad that my joke was terrible.

It sure made me less enthusiastic and disappointed in my sense of humor.

Because of this, the rest of the speech was not a huge hit.

The beginning of your talk is the point where the public speaking nerves are at peak levels.

Imagine you are already feeling anxious and trying to manage those speaking nerves ...

and on top of it, you either mess up telling a joke

... or no one laughs at your joke.

How would you feel afterward?


I don't think so!

Chances are ... It won't set you up for a great start, as was my experience.

Plus telling a joke on stage is not a piece of cake—it's an art in itself.

That's why not every public speaker can do standup comedy.

Instead, use any of these 4 ways to open your talk.

My favorites are asking an enrolling question or starting with a story.

The upside of opening with a personal story is that you have lived it.

You know it as the back of your hand.

You can recall its content without much effort.

Recounting something that happened to you or in front of you is a lot easier than memorizing and recalling something that's fictional e.g., jokes.

2 - Picture Your Audience in Underwear

Well, DON'T!

I don't know why such advice is out there on the internet when it comes to overcoming your speaking anxiety.

You might have heard it too ...

"Just picture your audience in their underwear, and everything is going to be okay".

But HOW?

I was never able to decipher the logic behind it.

I never believed in it and would never recommend it to anyone else.

Even if it works for someone (for some mysterious reason) it's a band-aid solution.

This advice is so ridiculous that I don't want to waste more words on it.

That's it.

3 - Don't Use Filler Words (Ah's, Um's, So's, And's etc.)

About 4 years ago, when I was learning how to speak in the American accent, I searched THIS on YouTube:

"What filler words to use when speaking in Amercian accent ..."

I can't believe that I wanted to add fillers into my speech intentionally.

Here's why I felt this need:

  • I feared taking pauses when communicating.
  • I used to panic when faced with that awkward silence between two words or two sentences.
  • It felt like an eternity whenever I paused for a second or two.

Reader ...

This might be the case with you too.

Here's what helped me resolve these problems:

I embraced the awkward silence, and it worked.

But don't worry about fillers in the beginning.

Otherwise ...

all you will be thinking when speaking is don't make a mistake, don't use fillers, don't mess it up.

Trust me, it will not lower speaking nerves.

It will make you even more self-conscious and less confident.

Instead ... try to embrace the pauses in your talks slowly.

It will automatically remove the fillers from your speech without you even knowing it.

Here's a detailed post on why you should PAUSE more when speaking.

4 - Your Delivery Must Be Perfect


You must know this first ...

"All great speakers were bad speakers at first." —Ralf Waldo Emerson

Some of the most influential speakers we all know were terrible at it when they started out.

Indeed, they suffered from crippling fear of public speaking ...

Winston Churchill.

Abraham Lincoln.

Mahatma Gandhi.

Mark Zuckerburg.

Warren Buffet.

Julia Roberts.

Joel Osteen.


... and many many more.

So, your delivery doesn't have to be perfect in order to start and become a confident speaker.

Public speaking should be approached in two stages.

Stage 1 - Fighting the limiting beliefs behind your speaking anxiety

Imagine your public speaking anxiety stems from the belief that "you are not good enough".

Do you think over-practicing or perfecting your delivery will help you debunk this limiting belief?

Would any amount of fake it until you make it work?

I doubt that!

Because you are approaching the problem from the wrong direction.

The mindset and belief systems are our operating system (OS) like the one in computers and smartphones.

If something is wrong with the operating system (like Windows, Android, Apple iOS, etc.) you can't fix it by replacing or installing new hardware components on your computer or smartphone.

You would either need to reinstall the OS or update it.

That's exactly what I do in stage 1 ...

To help you with updating your belief systems around public speaking.

The result of stage 1 is

... you can confidently make a conversation with your audience the way you do it at the dinner table.

Stage 2 - Learning the art of public speaking

This stage is all about taking your public speaking skills to the next level.

It is about growing and learning ...

  • how to craft an engaging message.
  • how to use your hand gestures and body language.
  • how to use pauses strategically for impact.
  • how to effectively tell stories, etc.

We should think of this stage more like lifelong learning—It takes years of practice to master the art of public speaking.

But remember ...

It's a BIG mistake to jump to this stage without working on core limiting beliefs that are causing you speaking anxiety.

I overcame my public speaking anxiety in Nov. 2022—It took me almost 2 years to do so.

You know why?

Because I made the same mistake that most people do.

Yes, I skipped stage 1 because of sheer ignorance.

No one explained to me that you can't skip stage 1 if you want faster and more sustainable results.

I completely overcame my speaking anxiety after working with my coach who helped me with eliminating my limiting beliefs such as ...

I am good enough if others think well of me


mistakes and failures are bad.

Reader ...

Don't make the same mistake I did and gain speedy and long-lasting results by working on your mindset and beliefs first.

If you know someone who could benefit from this newsletter, I’d love to have them join our community of public speakers. They can subscribe here.


1 - Free Discovery Call - Book your free discovery call now to uncover the root of your anxiety and fast-track your journey from nervous to confident speaker 🎤. Don’t miss out—time is of the essence! Seize the opportunity and take that first step toward transformation!

2 - Free live webinar - I will host a Live FREE Webinar on Friday (@1:30 PM MT, 12:30 PM PST, 02:30 PM CST, 03:30 PM EST) in which you will learn three secrets to overcoming your public speaking anxiety.​

3 - Social media - I regularly share practical tips and insights on public speaking and communication skills. If you are active on Youtube, Instagram, or ​Threads, let's connect.


Waqas, Founder & Speaking Coach

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Free Your Voice from Speaking Anxiety

The only newsletter you'll ever need to overcome the crippling fear of public speaking—It's time to free your voice from speaking anxiety and gain the self-confidence you always wanted. (Published Weekly)

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