41 reasons why good speakers give bad speeches

Don’t let your next speech fall victim to these oratorical traps.

On my birthday, I usually attempt to do the number of pushups that equals my age. I was good at 40. Now, though, I’m moving on.

This year my birthday challenge comes from an observation I made while watching a good speaker (polished, well spoken, etc.) give a bad speech. Thinking, too, about some of my firsthand experiences, I wrote a list of “41 reasons good speakers give bad speeches.”

1. Depend on natural ability

Many speakers with the gift of gab fail to work on their gift. When you don’t work on a speech, it usually shows.

2. Lack of quality feedback

Every speaker should have a qualified person provide feedback on their content and delivery. Skipping this step means you could miss your blind spots.

3. Don’t speak at the level of the audience

Using acronyms that the audience doesn’t know or explaining concepts that the audience already gets are two good ways to be a bad speaker. Meet the audience at their level of understanding.

4. Disorganized material

It’s painful to listen to a speaker who jumps from one place to another without any apparent rhyme or reason.

5. Self-absorbed

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