Speech writing is usually a lot more complex than simply writing an assignment or academic paper. That’s because some people are a lot more nervous when they’re speaking in front of an audience, whether it’s shyness or nerves. Even people that are more natural in front of a crowd can still fail with their speech if they commit a mistake. If you set up your speech and presentation the right way, you can be successful. That’s why it’s important to learn what the most common speech writing mistakes are, so you can avoid each of them. Here is a complete list of the top speech writing mistakes.
1. Taking too long to prepare.
One of the most common mistakes made is to take too long to get comfortable on stage. From finding your place, organizing the technical aspects, and setting up your notes, listeners get impatient. Be sure to have all preparations done before the first member of the audience even arrives. You should arrive plenty early to set everything up and be ready to start as soon as you walk on stage.
2. Relying on the slides.
Another issue that many speakers make that point to disorganization is reading from slides. You should know your subject material well enough that you’re able to speak without looking at the slides. If you’re simply reading what’s on the screen, your audience will be bored and find that you’re not very professional. The slides are for the audience, not for you. If you make this mistake, there’s a good chance your audience will have completely checked out very early on in your speech.
3. Not having good flow.
Speeches should be smooth and have great transitions from one point to another. No matter your topic, you most likely have a lot of related sub-topics that warrant full exploration. If you don’t have a good flow to your speech, your audience won’t know what the purpose is and will struggle to follow along with your train of thought. A lot of public speakers fail at this and instead jump from one idea to the next incoherently. This is a key example of poor planning and organization during the speech writing process.
4. Not having a good order.
You need to really think about the chronological order of your speech. Although you may know the topic intimately, your audience won’t. That’s why you can’t skip key facts like the time, origin, and development of the issue at hand. If you skip these crucial chronological details, your audience won’t understand how you got to the conclusion you did. Take the time to outline all the important facts and in the right order.
5. Not mentioning the location.
Similar to the previous point about time, you want to mention the region or location relevant to your speech as well, especially if you’re referencing a historical or political event. If you don’t specify the region or the country you’re talking about, your audience will become lost and not understand the reference or the analysis you’re making. Be clear about the details.
In the same vein as the location, if you don’t explain the causes and effects you’re bringing up, your audience will lose patience. Think about explaining the issues you’re bringing up in a cause and effect pattern. You start by outlining the cause of a problem and then getting into its effects. Unfortunately, many speechwriters don’t use this technique enough, and that makes listeners fail to understand the problem and its consequences.
6. Not having a good ending.
A lot of speakers simply have a poor or incomplete ending. In reality, you need to have a speech about a specific issue or problem and have a clear and effective solution by the end of it. Many people who write or give speeches don’t seem to follow that requirement, though. They’ll use flowery language but dance around the point. The result of that is that your speech just highlights an issue without actually solving it.
Once you recognize these speech writing mistakes, it becomes easier to avoid mistakes and have a stronger and more memorable speech.
Kristin Herman is a tech enthusiast and a project manager at Study Demic and Academ Advisor. She is a yoga teacher specializing in meditative practices such as Yin. Her further writing on yoga, breathing, and lifestyle can be found at Simple Grad.
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