Ten Public Speaking Cartoons You’ll Relate To


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Public Speaking Cartoons You’ll Relate To

We’ve got a soft spot for cartoons because they do a great job of communicating ideas in a way that’s super easy to understand. They’re pretty similar to memes in that respect.

That’s why in today’s article, we’re going to take a look at ten of our favorites. So without further ado, let’s take a look at ten public speaking cartoons that you’re likely to relate to. 

1.      Don’t depart from your notes

This first cartoon depicts the all-too-common occurrence in which a public speaker decides to forget about their notes and to go rogue. There are occasionally times when this works out, but most of the time, it’s an easy way to guarantee that you start rambling and talking rubbish. You prepared your notes for a reason. If you don’t stick with them, all of that prep time is wasted and you lose out on all of the benefits that preparation brings you. 

2.      Hesitation sucks

We’ve all had an experience in which we’ve watched a speaker who spent most of his presentation hesitating and saying “um” as a way to buy time. The problem with doing this is that it makes people think that you don’t know what to say or what you’re talking about and gives them the impression that you haven’t practiced enough. It’s better to stay silent than to fill that silence with an “um”. 

3.      The cycle

This cartoon is great because it shows that public speaking is a dialogue, rather than a one-to-many form of communication like watching television. The best public speakers are the source of a message that they transmit to the audience but are also happy to receive feedback in order to become better speaker in the future. Feedback can also form part of a Q&A session at the end. 

4.      Not everyone is nice

This cartoon hits home for a number of different reasons. For a start, it alludes to the fact that we often put a lot of ourselves into the talk that we’re about to give and that we feel as though it’s a reflection of ourselves. The problem is that any negative feedback can affect our confidence. Be aware that some negative feedback is just criticism for the sake of criticism. Don’t take this to heart. There’s a big difference between criticism and constructive criticism.  

5.      People love freebies

The text in this one is a little hard to read, but the lecturer is saying, “Lastly, are there any graduate students interested in lunch with the speaker after the seminar?” No one puts their hands up until he adds, “The department’s paying.” This is a great reminder that there’s a time and a place for freebies and that they can be a great way to drum up some enthusiasm, but that you should also remember that just because someone accepts a freebie, it doesn’t mean that they’re actually interested in what you have to say. 

6.      The PowerPoint struggle is real

There’s a concept amongst public speakers that’s known as PowerPoint fatigue, and the idea there is that people are so sick of PowerPoint that they tend to switch off and stop listening. This is especially true when speakers simply read from their slides, because it takes away the dynamism that’s inherent to public speaking and leaves the audience thinking that you might as well have just given them a handout. Oh, and you should resist the urge to position people in funny poses. 

7.      It takes all sorts

This cartoon is entertaining because it’s essentially a list of the different types of people you often see at a conference. Again, the text is pretty small, so here’s the full list of who you can expect:

  • Inept speaker

  • Buffer zone

  • Eternal skeptic (impolite)

  • Seasoned scientist

  • “I hope I don’t look like a nerd” scientist

  • (Dis)connected scientist

  • Chatterboxes

  • Audience watcher

  • Thesis writing student

  • First year grad student

  • Third year grad student

  • Eternal skeptic (polite) 

8.      It’s only anxiety

We’ve mentioned this before, but the fear of public speaking is said to be the world’s most common phobia. Because of that, you’ve probably experienced what the cartoon is talking about here, but it’s an important reminder that even though it might feel like you’re going to be sick or have a heart attack, you’ll get through it. And in many ways, that’s what makes public speaking so rewarding. You’ll feel super accomplished once you get through it and reach the other side. 

9.      Work is stressful

Building on from that last cartoon, work is always stressful, and this Dilbert cartoon captures that perfectly. Stress is only natural, and one of the best ways for us to deal with it is to take time off to reconnect with ourselves. The lesson here is that if you make it through a stressful public speaking engagement, you should remember to take some downtime so that you can recover from it. 

10.  Passive voice sucks

In writing and public speaking, there’s a concept called passive voice, which goes hand in hand with active voice. Not to get too technical, active voice follows the order “subject verb object”, while passive voice goes “object verb subject”. In this example, the active voice quote would be “I will use the passive voice” rather than “the passive voice will be used by me”. Wherever possible, you should use active voice in your talks because it is much more engaging.


Now that you know our picks for some of the top public speaking cartoons that you’re likely to relate to, we want to hear from you. What do you think of our selection, and have you seen any good ones that we’ve missed?

As always, be sure to let us know in the comments so that we can keep the discussion going, and don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media sites for more. We’ll see you soon!


Average: 5 (1 vote)


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