The odds are that at some point in your life you will have to do some type of public speaking. Giving a speech in front of a large group is scary for some people. The important thing to remember is that you want your audience to hear the message of your speech. A bad speech can turn people against you because it doesn't present the message clearly. This prevents your message from getting through to the crowd. Many annoying and distracting speaking habits also can contribute to a bad speech.
Repeats the Forbidden "Um"
If you've ever heard an inexperienced speaker, then you've probably heard "um" repeated continually throughout the speech. The speaker pauses, but inserts this sound before moving onto his next thought. It's a natural reaction. The speaker feels he must fill the silence. It can also be a sign of nervousness. Periods of silence, no matter how brief, can make the speaker uncomfortable. Experienced speakers have omitted "um" from their speeches. It takes time and mental focus to omit "um" when you speak. Once you are successful in doing this, the audience is free to concentrate on your message instead of being distracted by your manner of speaking.
Fails to Introduce the Topic
A bad speech will fail to introduce the topic. You need to prep your audience for what you intend to say. Your introduction should ideally be a paragraph three to four sentences in length. It should start out by addressing the audience with, "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen" or something to that effect. Then, briefly tell your audience what you plan to talk about. For example, "I wish to share with you several reasons why we need to spend more money on school books and science kits."
Offers No Evidence-based Support
A bad speech will include little or no evidence to support the message. For the audience to buy into what you are saying, you must provide facts that support your statements. Without these facts, your speech is simply your opinion and adds little credibility to your cause. Including direct and indirect quotes and references to research in your speech is a good idea. For example, if you say, "According to the results of a study by the American Red Cross, regular exercise can lower cholesterol levels and help reduce plaque in arteries," you are supporting your message with research-based facts.
Makes No Eye Contact With the Audience
It's important that a public speaker make eye contact with members of the audience. This reminds the audience that the message is for them. Experienced speakers know to make eye contact with audience members in all areas of the room. People in the front, as well as people in the back and along the sides, should get eye contact from the speaker. Bad speakers may also speak too fast or mumble and run sentences together. This is something many people do when they are nervous.