5 Public Speaking Tips Inspired By Hasan Minhaj: Mastering The Art of Engaging Audiences.

Feb 01, 2023

I spend a lot of time watching speakers and dissecting what makes their presentations great. All presentations can be broken down into 3 parts:

  1. structure
  2. Delivery
  3. Engagement (details like humour, hook phrases and storytelling)

I'll talk about structures in another blog but here is an overly complicated look at how you can structure any talk for any situation:

In this blog, we are talking about delivery, and we are going to learn from a pro. I saw Hasan Minhaj on Netflix, I don't know much about the guy or his comedy, but I know that he can teach us some very important tips.

Here are 5 takeaways:

  1. Facial gesturing matters
  2. Use open-palm gestures
  3. Use the stage with purpose
  4. When the energy is up, your hands are up, when the energy drops your hands drop
  5. Enjoy yourself

Facial gesturing matters:

Look at Hasan's eyes in the video, they open up like an anime character! Watch his face, it shows the expression for the entire length of the video.

Instead of saying, "Oh well, he can do that, he's a pro, I could never do that."

Before you say, "Well, that's not me, I don't do that kind of stuff."

Think for a second about what it would be like to KNOW the audience is loving your talk. You know that everything you say is incredible.

Trust me, your words are good, now you need to sell them. Just say out loud, "I could probably use a little more expression in my presentations now that I see how well it works. I'll give it a whirl."

Action Step: Practice Exaggerating These Simple Expressions Now.

  • eyebrow raise
  • extra big smile
  • say "Ohhhhhhhhhhhh."
  • raise only one eyebrow (this one is hard)
  • big frown
  • Angry face
  • teeth together, open mouth, raise eyebrows

Boom, you're on your way to being a better presenter, and whether it feels uncomfortable or not, it works.

Join my newsletter because I'm going to PROVE that all of this "stuff," matters. I have some TED speakers that show the difference between what not to do.

Use open-palm gestures:

I don't understand why so many speakers keep their fists clenched. It's not comfortable and it doesn't look good.

Good news! The fix is simple; open up your hands!

I'm not saying to never close your hands. You see in the video at 0:42 that Hasan's fingers are together as his hand comes down. You're just doing it on purpose.

Clenched hands make you look nervous, open hands say, hey, I'm here to share ideas with you!

Clenched hands are personal, open hands are exactly how it sounds... open.


Use The Stage With Purpose:

You can't see the full video but Hasan walks out to the front of the stage and moves around as casually as he tells his story. Near the end, he sits down on the prop and brings the energy down with him.

Now, I'm going to pick on TED speakers because they spam my feed on Linkedin, and they show a lot of what to avoid.

Avoid awkwardly using the stage, stepping a little forward, back, and to the left like you don't know where you should stand.

The fix to awkwardness is very simple: plant and speak. Then move to another part of the stage and plant again. Then move to another part of the stage and plant again.

The idea is that you use the entire stage and talk to the entire audience.

It might look a little choreographed at first because it's obvious where the speaker is moving to. That's okay, it's much better to watch that than awkward pacing, especially when the stage is big.

When the energy is up, your hands are up, when the energy drops your hands drop

Think about someone who is expressing anger, where are their hands while they talk?

In your face, right? Definitely up around the shoulders.

Not one person who yells at somebody holds their hands down at their side.

Not one person who is extremely excited holds their hands down at their side.

When your hands go up your energy goes up.

When your hands are up you are expressing excitement, you raise the energy around you. You can raise the energy of an entire audience.

The big mistake: most speakers get their hands up to their mid-section, but only the top 10% go all the way up.

You want to use a full range of body language when you talk, and if you don't have a mic in one hand then speak with both hands together.


Enjoy yourself

Is it not obvious that Hasan is loving his talk?

Experienced speakers aren't nervous, right?

I'd say they're excited, and there's very little difference between the feeling of excitement and nervousness.

The difference between a pro speaker and an amateur is as simple as admitting you are excited. "I'm excited to speak!" That's what I always say. I love speaking. I love sales. I love being an entrepreneur. I love grinding my way every day on my journey to the top.

I love training speakers. I am great at training speakers. I'm excited to offer an online speaker training program that is going to change the landscape of speaker training.

If you want to know everything there is to know about speaking then check out my speaker training page and let's change your life!

Devin Bisanz