There are as many factors that create bad speeches as good ones. A compelling speech is mostly about crafting high-quality content and having engaging delivery skills, which sounds like a piece of cake. Yet almost every speaker can make several mistakes during their speeches which may make them considered “bad” ones. Although such mistakes may not result in “disastrous” presentations, it is still better to avoid them so that you can have excellent performances. Follow these tips to find out what you can do to stay away from creating bad speeches!
Tailor your content to the audience
Failures to address the interests and concerns of the audience may fall into 2 typical categories: delivering generic, on-the-surface concepts everyone is familiar with, or providing the public audience with irrelevant stories and various unheard terminologies. Either way is beneficial. Instead, bear in mind that it’s the AUDIENCE that matters, and you should deliver a speech catering for their needs. For a college presentation, bring an in-depth academic study relating to your topic, while for a business team meeting, insightful business reports and analyses are essential. Similarly, for a general audience, your speech should be on the same level of their understanding.
Don’t cram too much data
Many of us fall under the impression that we need to dump as much knowledge, information and as many details into the presentation as possible. Yet it too often ends up with you merely talking non-stop, while the audience feel flooded with too much knowledge to handle. As a result, this habit undermines your ability to connect with and inspire people, which is literally of utmost importance for presentations. On the other hand, too many details mean you can only refer to them on the surface level without any further analysis, making your speech less persuasive and insightful.
Have a clear outline
Some speakers passionately talk in detail about various aspects of their topic without a logical flow of their messages. The audience may understand what they say, but have no idea what the point of saying such things is. Instead, try to connect the dots for your audience through establishing a clear, logical content structure appropriate with your topic. For example, you may make the mistake of telling endless stories about your experience on using your product without making a point of how users can make good use of it. It is also recommended that you give out an agenda of your speech from the start, so that your audience find it easier to follow your lead along the way.
Make appropriate use of visual aids (media, slides, etc)
Everyone understands the importance of visual elements in presentations, yet some don’t pay proper attention to the use of them. In many cases, the visual information delivered has little to do with the issue being discussed, or is excessive and gets the audience embarrassed. On the other hand, some speakers execute a under-use of these aids, or rely on old, conventional types such as paper handouts or still images. You can refresh your speech with innovative visual tools such as interactive slides via AhaSlides, incorporate several on-the-topic videos, charts, etc and highlight important points to produce the best impact.
Foster an inclusive environment
The intrinsic value of a presentation is the delivery to and connection with the audience, which also connotes the messages the observers better, so pay attention to this element. This should be done through both verbal and non-verbal expressions.
For verbal one, you can make good questions to emphasize an important issue or do a live survey and get every audience member involved in, or hold some interactive games and create an enthusiastic atmosphere via AhaSlides. For the latter, non-verbal interaction with the audience has the most to do with your body language. A subconscious body gesture like a slouch, a frown, etc can convey a conscious misunderstanding of the messages you are trying to get across and result in bad speeches. Make a lot of practice to make the delivery of your speech more effective.
Eliminate distracting mannerisms
“Distracting mannerisms” is a descriptive term by itself. In presentations, they largely refer to certain body gestures and movements which frustrate the audience and shift their attention away from what you are saying. They could range from redundant gestures such as rocking back and forth, pulling up your sleeves, swaying your hands, etc, to indicators of unconfidence, including leaning against the lantern, standing with both hands clasped below your waist or avoiding eye contact. Although they may be unintentional, try to pay close attention to them and get rid of them one by one. This takes time but is apparently worth the hard work, you’ll see!
Don’t put delivery over content
Most popular guides on presentations and public are on how to brush up on your delivery (mostly about body language) of the information, how to pump everyone up and connect to them. However, there comes a serious missing point: how to craft excellent content. Keep in mind that WHAT you deliver is the first thing that matters in your speech, and the over-reliance on your expression might distract you from improving your content quality. Try to do your best in both aspects and nail your performance with amazing content and amazing presentation skills!
Knowing what makes a bad speech brings you one step closer to making a good one. Let AhaSlides make yours an amazing presentation now! (And it’s free!)