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5 Things You Can Learn From a Really Bad Speech

By Joel Garfinkle

There are two kinds of speeches by motivational speakers that can evoke strong emotional reactions and leave you breathless: one that is given by an inspirational, motivational keynote speaker that is highly inspiring and prompts you to take action, and one that is so badly executed that it makes your jaw drop.

Good or bad, both kinds of speeches deserve your attention. Both can teach you what to do and what not to do when you go out and face an audience. Here are five key things you can learn from a really bad speech:

  1. Don’t mumble or speak too fast. There are some speakers who mumble and others who do just the opposite; they go through their speech like they’re running a marathon. Good public speakers, especially motivational professional public speakers, have a knack for speaking at just the right speed so their message is clear, precise, and easy for the audience to absorb and understand.
  2. Maintain eye contact. The worst thing you can do is avoid eye contact with the audience. I’ve seen some bad speakers who look almost everywhere else: the presentation screen, the podium, their shoes, or the ceiling. If you’re looking somewhere else, you convey the message to your audience that you’re not really interested in them.
  3. Avoid excessive movement. Pacing up and down the stage or making nervous movements distracts your audience. Your listeners have a hard time keeping up with your actions so they miss what you’re talking about. Don’t get me wrong – actions are great, but they need to make sense. Animate your speech by walking calmly and make a few key hand gestures at the right moments.
  4. Practice, practice, practice. Have you ever walked out of a speech thinking, “that needed some practice?” Practice is what differentiates amateur speakers from seasoned professionals. Professional inspirational speakers make their speeches so effortless and flawless that they almost sound unrehearsed because of their natural speaking style. This gives them the innate ability to connect instantly with the audience. A bad speech is one that the speaker struggles to get through and has lots of pauses, “ums,” and “ahs.”
  5. Don’t read from your notes. Speakers that constantly flip through long pages of notes look boring and unorganized.  You don’t need to memorize your entire speech; writing down key points on note cards is fine to help you stay on track. Just don’t read from them constantly. Refer to the points casually, spending more time maintaining eye contact and interacting with your audience.

If you want to be a breathtaking, inspiring, and downright brilliant public speaker, all you need to do is adhere to these simple rules. Attend seminars and conferences and listen to motivational speakers and speeches by professional keynote speakers like skilled motivator Joel Garfinkle to find inspiration and brush up on your own public speaking and presentation skills.

Do you need an outstanding keynote speaker? Joel Garfinkle has delivered more than 1000 speeches, workshops, and seminars across the country and globally to some of the world’s most well-known companies, including Cisco, Oracle, Kohl’s, Wells Fargo, Deloitte and many more. Book Joel Garfinkle at your next corporate convention or seminar today!

Copyright © 2012 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved. Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, "41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!"

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