Humor and Nervousness: How to Use Laughter to Calm Your Nerves


Public speaking can be nerve-wracking for some people. The idea of getting up in front of a crowd and delivering a speech or a presentation can be intimidating. It is normal to feel nervous before a big speech or presentation, which is why some people turn to humor to help calm their nerves. In this article, we will explore how humor can be used to ease nervousness and make public speaking a more enjoyable experience.

The Power of Humor

Humor has a magical power to connect and engage people. It can tear down barriers and help to establish a rapport with the audience. When you are feeling anxious, your body produces stress hormones, which can make you look and feel tense. Laughter, on the other hand, triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. Endorphins elevate your mood and make you feel happier, positive, and more relaxed. By incorporating humor into your speeches or presentations, you can create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in the room, which will help to instantly calm your nerves.

The Benefits of Using Humor in Public Speaking

Humor is a great tool for public speaking, and it provides several benefits, including:

  • Breaking the ice: Adding humor to your speech is an excellent way to break the ice and connect with your audience.
  • Keeping the audience engaged: Using humor can help to keep your audience engaged throughout your speech or presentation.
  • Connecting with the audience: Humor can help create a bond between you and your audience, making it easier to deliver your message.
  • Reducing tension: Laughter is a natural stress reliever, which helps to reduce tension and anxiety in both you and your audience.

How to Use Humor to Calm Your Nerves

Now that we know the power of humor let us explore how to use it to calm your nerves while public speaking.

Know your audience

Before you begin to add humor to your speech or presentation, it is essential to know your audience. Understanding your audience's culture, interests, and age group will help you tailor your humor to their taste. Humor is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it is crucial to know what type of humor your audience will enjoy.

Keep it clean and appropriate

Humor is a powerful tool, but it can also be risky if not used appropriately. It is crucial to keep your humor clean and suitable for your audience. Avoid jokes that are offensive, derogatory, or insensitive. Humor should be used to bring people together, not to divide them.

Start with a joke

Starting with a joke is an excellent way to break the ice and establish a rapport with your audience. However, the first joke you tell must be funny, appropriate, and related to your topic. This first joke will set the tone for the rest of your speech, so it is essential to get it right.

Use personal stories

Personal stories are excellent sources of humor. Sharing funny anecdotes from your life experiences can help the audience connect with you and your message. Additionally, personal stories help to showcase your personality and make you relatable to your audience.

Use humor to emphasize key points

Humor can be used to emphasize essential points of your speech or presentation. A funny anecdote or joke related to your topic can help the audience remember the key points of your message. However, it is essential to ensure that the humor does not distract from your message.

Practice makes perfect

Using humor in public speaking requires practice, just like any other skill. Try different jokes, anecdotes, or one-liners to see what works with your audience. You can practice delivering jokes in front of a mirror, with family and friends, or even with a small group of people. Practicing your humor will help you build confidence, feel more relaxed and less nervous when delivering your speeches or presentations.


Humor is a powerful tool that can help to calm your nerves while public speaking. Using humor can help to break the ice, keep your audience engaged, and connect with your audience. It is crucial to know your audience, keep your humor clean and appropriate, start with a joke, use personal stories, use humor to emphasize key points, and practice your humor to help build confidence. Incorporating humor into your speeches or presentations can make your public speaking experience more enjoyable while reducing your nervousness and anxiety.