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15 Inspiring Public Speaking Quotes (Famous, Funny, & Fear-Reducing)

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One thing we've learned in this series about public speaking is that it's normal to have a fear of public speaking. Hopefully, you've also learned that it's possible to improve your public speaking skills through mastering the right techniques and through practice.

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Afraid of public speaking? These inspirational quotes will help. Image source: Envato Elements

If you're one of those who's struggling to become a better speaker, though, it can be easy to become discouraged. You may feel that you're the only one who's got to work on their speaking skills or the only one who suffers from a fear of public speaking. You may feel unmotivated about your upcoming speech and you may be tempted to quit.

The truth, though, is that you're not alone. There are many others who have learned to improve their public speaking skill. When you struggle with something, sometimes it helps to know that you're not alone. In this article, I share public speaking quotes from such famous people as Jerry Seinfield and others. My hope is that when you read some of these inspirational quotes about public speaking you'll be encouraged.

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Read on for some motivational quotes for public speaking.

Top Quotes About Public Speaking

Here are some of the best quotes about public speaking that I've found. In this list you'll find funny quotes on public speaking, fear of public speaking quotes, and famous quotes on public speaking. To make it easier to follow, I've divided the list into sections—starting with the fear of public speaking quotes.

Fear of Public Speaking Quotes

Fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias that people face. Some studies estimate that as many as 75% of us have this common fear. If you struggle with fear of public speaking (sometimes known as stage fright), hopefully you'll find these quotes about public speaking from those who've faced a fear of public speaking to be helpful.

1. Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts is a popular actress who has appeared in numerous movies and televisions shows. Roberts has appeared on Teen Vogue's best dressed list and even served as a brand ambassador for the Neutrogena skin care line.

With those accomplishments you wouldn't expect Roberts to have stage fright, but in February of 2010 Roberts was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying,

"...doing a music video is so embarrassing. I don't think I'll be doing [another] album unless I write it for someone else. I have stage fright. I can't ever do theater because I would pee my pants ... It's way too nerve-racking. There's a comfort in being able to mess up when you're on a movie set."

2. Mahatma Gandhi

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Mahatma Gandhi, Photo from Wikipedia

One of the greatest influencers and leaders of the 20th century, Gandhi led the Indian independent movement from British rule. Gandhi's efforts ultimately led to an independent India and inspired thousands around the world.

Yet, Gandhi struggled with shyness. In Gandhi's autobiography, there's an entire chapter on shyness. The chapter includes this motivational quote, which can be applied for public speaking,

"My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth."

3. Prince Harry

Even being a royal doesn't make you immune from fear of public speaking. Princy Harry, the younger son of Charles and Diana (Prince and Princess of Wales), has admitted to struggling with fear or public speaking. Multiple news outlets, such as The Times, have documented Harry's stage fright. Here's the fear of public speaking quote from the Prince:

" My secret is -- believe it or not -- I get incredibly nervous before public speaking, no matter how big the crowd or the audience and, um, despite the fact that I laugh and joke all the time I get incredibly nervous, if not anxious, actually, before going into rooms full of people when I'm wearing a suit... And now that I've confessed that, I'll probably be even more worried that people are looking at me."

4. Annie Lennox

Lennox is perhaps most famous as the lead singer of the British music group, the Eurythmics. As a singer, Lennox received numerous awards, including the Billboard Century Award. In addition to being a talented musician, Lennox has raised money for HIV/AIDS awareness—resulting in an appointment from Queen Elizabeth II as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. But Lennox also had to overcome the fear of public speaking:

"Fear paralyses you - fear of flying, fear of the future, fear of leaving a rubbish marriage, fear of public speaking, or whatever it is." (Source: BrainyQuotes)

Funny Quotes on Public Speaking

It's often been said that the ability to laugh at oneself is a good thing. Now, a 2011 study on laughter seems to support that premise. The researchers found that participants who laughed at themselves were more cheerful and had a better mood. If you can recognize yourself in some of these funny quotes on public speaking, it may cheer you up.

5. Jerry Seinfield

Seinfield 's a comedian and television personality who starred in a popular TV comedy series. Seinfield has also been a guest a number of other television shows. When it comes to public speaking quotes, Seinfield reportedly said this (from the New York Post),

"According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy."

6. Dale Carnegie

A writer and lecturer, Carnegie is best known for the popular advice book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Perhaps one of the most famous self-help authors of 20th century, Carnegie went on to found a series of professional development courses that are still used today. Regarding public speaking, Carnegie reportedly said,

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” (Source: BrainyQuotes)

7. George Jessel

A famed British jurist of the 1900s, Sir George Jessel is most known for commercial law and equity. This historic judge was a part of numerous cases. Although accustomed to speaking in a court of law, Jessel reportedly had this to say about public speaking,

"The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops... until you stand up to speak in public." (Source: BrainyQuote)

8. Dorothy Sarnoff

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Dorothy Sarnoff, Photo from Wikipedia.

Sarnoff started out as an opera singer and star on Broadway. Later, Sarnoff founded a company called Speech Cosmetics--a company dedicated to improving its client's public speaking skills. The following funny public speaking quote has been credited to Sarnoff,

"Make sure that you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening! " (Source: Lead Yourself Today by John E. Markley)

9. Adam Duritz

Another popular musician, Duritz is a vocalist for the rock band Counting Crows. Duritz is also an accomplished writer, co-writing a song for the Shrek 2 movie. Plus, Duritz owns several record labels. Here's a funny public speaking quote that's attributed to Duritz,

"People ask me if I have stage fright. I say, '... no, I'm completely comfortable there. I have rest-of-the-day fright.'" (Source: AZ Quotes)

Famous Quotes on Public Speaking

In this section, I've shared some motivational and inspirational quotes about public speaking from well-known historical and contemporary leaders.

10. Lady Bird Johnson

Johnson was the First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969. In addition, Johnson advocated for The Highway Beautification Act that limits the use of outdoor advertising along highways and promotes scenic roadside development. Johnson was also a business owner. Early in life, Johnson bought the KTBC radio station in Austin, TX. The following motivational public speaking quote is attributed to Johnson,

“The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” (Source:

11. Ralph Waldo Emerson

This poet and philosopher influenced American thought in the 19th century and beyond. Emerson is mostly known for essays and other writings today, but what many don't know is that Emerson was a popular lecturer in the mid to late 1800s. This inspiring quote expresses Emerson's view that speech is important,

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” (Source: The Later Lectures of Ralph Waldo Emerson: 1843 - 1871)

12. Seth Godin

Godin is known for blogging and for entrepreneurial ventures. Godin also wrote several best-selling books such as Purple Cow and Tribes. Godin also gives frequent public speeches. This motivational quote on public speaking comes from Seth Godin's Blog,

"You are not being judged, the value of what you are bringing to the audience is being judged."

13. Richard Branson

The founder of the Virgin Group (which includes the Virgin Records music label and other companies), Branson has been an entrepreneur since the 1970s. In fact, in 1999 Buckingham Palace knighted Branson for "services to entrepreneurship." This Branson motivational quote about public speaking is from Inc.,

"Picture yourself in a living room having a chat with your friends. You would be relaxed and comfortable talking to them, the same applies when public speaking."

14. Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Franklin D. Roosevelt, Photo from Wikipedia via the National Archives and Records Administration

Roosevelt was a U.S. president for thirteen years, with a presidency spanning both the Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt is known for the New Deal legislation, which implemented public work projects and other financial reform. Roosevelt is also known for leadership during World War II. The following public speaking quote is credited to Roosevelt,

“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” (Source: GoodReads)

15. Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is perhaps most famous for being a former First Lady of the United States or for advocating healthcare reform. However, Clinton was also Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Clinton ran for presidential office in 2008 and 2016. About public speaking, Clinton reportedly said,

“If you're not comfortable with public speaking - and nobody starts out comfortable; you have to learn how to be comfortable - practice. I cannot overstate the importance of practicing. Get some close friends or family members to help evaluate you, or somebody at work that you trust.” (Source: AZQuotes)

Take Away: Use These Motivational Quotes for Public Speaking to Become a Better Speaker

If you get nothing else from this article, remember that public speaking is a skill that can improved. You can improve. You can become a better public speaker!

To inspire you, I've gathered some of the best motivational quotes for public speaking that I could find, including quotes about public speaking from famous people who've struggled with it. And just for fun, I've also shared some funny quotes on public speaking. As you read these, I hope you found them useful.

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Editorial Note: This content was originally published in 2018. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.

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