Confidently Awkward

Olivia Lee
6 min readApr 15, 2021


My passion is to help entrepreneurs become better storytellers and have more confidence, public wits, and public speaking skills to help them grow their brand. I want to share with you three ways you can become a better public speaker.

Body language is powerful and how you stand, how you walk around on stage is very important. Let’s say if you’re on stage and as you’re giving a speech, and your body’s all crumpled up. And that makes you seem small. Think about those frilled-neck lizards. One moment, they look like a cute little lizard, but the second they feel threatened, it’s neck frills like a big umbrella, and it makes the lizard look big, to scare away potential predators. We as humans, can do the same thing, not to scare away predators, but to feign confidence when we feel nervous.If we can make ourselves look bigger and thus making us look and sound more confident. So whenever I’m on stage, I never make myself look small. I get out of my little crumpled, slouched position, I don’t stay in one place. I walk around to show where my territory is onstage. I’m making a statement: I’m walking over here because this side of the stage is mine. I’m walking back here because this side of the stage is also mine. That’s right. My territory, I’m marking my territory. And I use a lot of gestures, like big arm movements, as a way to emphasize my points and help draw the attention of my audience.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Psychologically, when I make a motion, no matter what I’m talking about, people immediately look at my hand, and it helps them remember my points more. When it comes to confidence, your voice, and what you say in the beginning of your speech matters a lot, your voice matters so much. You have to project, and your own voice. You don’t have to lose your voice. I’ve done speeches on a consistent basis, like daily for almost a week for a business conference and training this one time a few years back. And that’s back when I was on stage without a microphone, sometimes the mic didn’t even work. Sometimes I would just left there to talk to, like, I think it was like 150 to 200 people I had to project. And I realized that after, I tend to use my throat a lot when I talk, even though some people have this amazing talent to talk with their stomach, I have no idea how, like, that would be amazing, but I tend to talk a lot with my throat. that sounds funny, but, and I’m also soft-spoken at the same time. And when I was projecting that entire week, I realized that I was starting to lose my voice. I was starting to cough a lot. I was requiring a lot of water during my speeches, which leads me to wanting to go to the bathroom more often. And that’s awful when you have to give a speech after the person who’s on stage now. And all I can think about is I have to pee. I have to pee, and my turn is coming up soon. So what I have figured out, is to just use the technology, use a microphone. You don’t have to yell now on stage, you can just use your regular normal talking voice as long as you have the right equipment. And if you don’t, if you are in a situation where you have to project tile, use your projectile talking voice skills, I would practice.

Photo by Khashayar Kouchpeydeh on Unsplash

There are these activities that I had to do daily when I was doing full-time acting. And it’s practicing to breathe with your stomach. It’s difficult for me to do, but it helps with projecting your voice more. Now I’m going into a subject where I don’t know much because I don’t practice it, but there are a lot of different ways to project your voice without sounding like you’re yelling at your audience.

My best advice is to use technology. If you’re on a big stage with a lot of people in the audience, you have to have a mic. There’s no way for you to reach all those thousands of people. For example, when I was the MC for a concert with 5,000 people, there was no way the audience could hear me without the proper equipment

My next tip is all about confidence. You never want to apologize to your audience when you feel awkward or nervous, or if you fumble with a part of your speech. You don’t want to say, oops, I forgot this. Or, oh, I’m sorry. I used to make this mistake so many times in the past. Every time I asked my mentor after the speech how it went, the majority of the time, the answer would be, we didn’t even know what mistake you made or what line you forgot until you made it known to the audience. If you forgot what you were going to say about the entire slide that’s being presented right now, you could just say a couple of words and move on instead of saying, “I’m sorry, I forgot.” Because reminding the audience that you made a mistake decreases your credibility as a speaker.

People have shorter attention spans of about seven seconds, which is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish! So, they will not hang on to your mistakes the way you may fixate on them as you speak. Even if you need to pause to gather your thoughts, and it feels like awkward silence, that pause may help bring the audience back, grabbing their attention. If you’re like me, when things are silent, you just immediately think “This silence is awkward, what’s going on?” And any person who has drifted away from your speech is now drawn back in. Same goes with filler words. When you hear filler words such as “um” and “like” that you were just drilled into our head, not to use during a public speech, it makes you feel immediately awkward. And you’re just like, okay, “what’s going on, I have to listen.”

And lastly, storytelling is so important when it comes to public speaking; it helps people easily understand what you’re talking about. I highly recommend using your own stories. However, if it’s in a niche or a topic that you’re not familiar with, I would use other people’s stories or talk to someone else who’s an expert, or who has more experiences in the field and use it in your speech, with their consent and giving credit to them. This way, people who are familiar with the subject, will recognize that you know what you are talking about, and be able to relate to it more. A good story can captivate your audience and connect them to your speech. Hours later, they may not remember all your main points, but a story they connected with will stick with them hours, days, even years after your talk!



Olivia Lee

Uplifting Introverts to Become Confident Leaders, Captivating Storytellers, and Charismatic Speakers without any previous Public Speaking Experience.