7 Common Mistakes in Bad Speeches, and How to Avoid Them

5 min readApr 3, 2020

BOOHOO! Bad Speeches

Nobody likes bad speeches. No matter if this is the first time or a millionth time you have delivered your speech, there are still so many little mistakes that you could make. From unintentionally filling your audience with too much information to inserting funny but irrelevant images, these are the 7 most common mistakes in bad speeches, and how to avoid them.

In this blog post, we would cover the following mistakes:

  1. Losing Focus on Audience
  2. Information Overflow
  3. No Outline
  4. No Visual Aids
  5. Exclusive Environment
  6. Distracting Mannerisms
  7. Delivery over Contents

Mistake 1: Forgetting Your Audience

Typically, there are 2 extremes that presenters like you would suffer from when addressing the interests of your audience:

  • Delivering generic, common knowledge that brings no added value, or
  • Providing abstract stories and vague terminologies that the audience cannot understand

Therefore, you should always bear in mind that it’s the AUDIENCE that matters, and only deliver a speech that cater to their needs.

For example, if you are presenting in a college setting, an in-depth academic subject relating to your topic would be suitable. However, for a business team meeting, insightful business reports and analyses are essential. Similarly, for a general audience, your speech should use a common language that is easy to understand.

Mistake 2: Flooding Your Audience with Information

Let’s face it, we have all been there. We feared we the audience wouldn’t be able to comprehend our speech, so we tried to make it as detailed as possible. As a result, the audience is flooded with too much info. This habit undermines your ability to connect with and inspire people.

Instead, know your audience. Assume that you are one of them. Assume what they know. Then, you would have the ground to cover the proper amount of info and deliver a persuasive and insightful speech, choke-free.

Mistake 3: Bad Speeches Are Ones without An Outline

A key mistake that many confident speakers make is that they think they can deliver a speech without a prepared outline. No matter how passionately they speak, there is no makeup for a lack of logic in their message.

Instead of having your audience second guessing your point, have a point from the very beginning. Establish a clear and logical structure for your topic. It is also recommended that you hand out an outline of your speech, so that your audience can follow your speech along the way.

Mistake 4: Where is Your Visual Aids?

Another mistake that cause bad speeches is a lack of visual aids. Everyone understands the importance of visual elements in presentations, yet some don’t pay proper attention to them.

Some speakers rely on plain and tedious visual aids like paper handouts or still images. But it is not you. Refresh your speech with innovative visual tools such as AhaSlides to include videos, interactive charts, live quizzes, etc. to produce the most impact to your audience.

But also be careful. Don’t let the visual information to have little to do with the issue being discussed, or become excessive.

Mistake 5: Exclusive Environment

No one likes feeling excluded, especially your audience. So don’t let them be. Connect with the audience to convey your message better. This could be done with both verbal and non-verbal expressions.

Verbally, you and the audience can discuss and interact via a Q&A session to emphasize important issues. With the Q&A features from AhaSlides, the audience can type their questions on their phones, and they would appear on your presenter’s screen. This way, you can have an overview of the questions being raised, and take initiative in choosing those questions that you want to answer. In addition, you could do a live survey and hold some interactive games to create an enthusiastic and engaging atmosphere

Non-verbally, interact with your audience through your body language. A subconscious gesture like a slouch or a frown can be misunderstood and result in bad speeches. Practice, gain your confidence, and deliver your speech more effectively.

Mistake 6: Distracting Mannerisms

Distracting mannerisms is a descriptive term by itself. 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 be redundant gestures such as:

  • Rocking back and forth
  • Pulling up your sleeves
  • Swaying your hand

Distracting mannerisms could also indicate of insecurity, including:

  • Leaning against the lantern
  • Standing with both hands clasped below your waist
  • Avoiding eye contact

Although they may be unintentional, try to pay close attention to them. This takes time but is worth the hard work!

Mistake 7: Delivery over Content

Popular guides on presentations teach you how to brush up on your delivery. However, they miss a serious point: How to craft excellent content.

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 bad speeches brings you one step closer to making a good one. Now let AhaSlides make yours an even more amazing presentation now! (And it’s free!)




AhaSlides, the online interactive presentation tool created to turn you — the speaker — into the real star on stage. Website: ahaslides.com