50 Fast Ways to TOTALLY BOMB Your Next Speaking Engagement!


They try to be someone they're not (people aren't dumb, your audience can sense this)

They approach speaking like a hobby, not like a business owner

They try to speak on a topic nobody cares about (but most people are too nice to say anything)

They're difficult to work with and make too many demands

They speak "off the cuff" (they don't care enough about the people in their audience or their own reputation to prepare)

They're boring

They don't know how great stories are structured and therefore don't know how to tell a good story

They think teaching more information will make a better speech (in reality, too much information overwhelms people)

They have poorly structured talks (no clearly defined talking points and stories that back up the main point)

They don't tell their audience what they're going to learn and why they should care (near the beginning of their talk)

They tell stories that aren't true or use other people's stories as their own (and everyone knows it isn't their own)

They exaggerate their same story over time (and it gets more & more impressive over the years. Don't lie to your audience)

It's all about them (the entire talk is about the speaker and doesn't connect with what the audience wants or needs)

They come off as egotistical and narcissistic

They confuse their audience with irrelevant stories and talking points

They don't know and understand the audience they're speaking to

They hook their audience in the beginning with a promise they'll reveal at the end of the talk, but forget or fail to reveal it

They fail to take advantage of the first opening minute and the last minute of their speech

Having an excessive case of the "Umms, ya' knows, and uh's..." (just practice and work them out as you can)

Giving a "canned speech" that sound rehearsed, monotone in voice, and/or not from the heart.

Too much "professional speaker" training (Yep, that's right. Sometimes you need to just finally go do it)

The speaker can't clearly explain "why" they're talking to you (and everyone in the audience is wondering)

They tell the audience how nervous they are

They talk about what they like and ignore the wants/needs/goals of the organization that hired them

Making irrelevant political comments that have nothing to do with why the organization hired them to come speak

Making racially slanderous jokes (I've literally watched this happen)

They speak about a topic nobody cares about

Speaking too quietly/ Looking at the floor instead of the audience

DEATH BY POWERPOINT! (And the entire speech is basically reading the slides)

Spending too much time on a point and then having to rush the last 5 minutes of the talk (or talking too fast and having 20 minutes left at the end and having nothing else to say)

They don't know when their talk is done (and nobody else does either!)

They've never been through the UseYourStory Online Speaking Course at www.UseYourStory.com (shameless self-promoting plug ;)

Doing their entire talk in a "super-passionate" voice (when it's really not that big of a deal- aka: fake excitement)

Talking about how great they are and all of their accomplishments

When the speaker says "I'm not trying to name drop, but..." (then proceeds to name drop)

Swearing in their talk (very few people can get away with this and it's highly unlikely you're one of them)

They claim they can or will speak on any topic

They tell that old "Star Fish" story (ugh...)

They have no original, memorable stories of their own

Their entire talk is a sales pitch

They tell stories that don't relate to the point they're supposedly trying to make

They show up late to the speaking event

They have a long, confusing speaking contract that is several pages in length

They are a jack of all speaking topics, expert of none

Not being totally 100% confident in their message & lessons- i.e. if someone argues with them and they can't back up what they are saying and they lose credibility

"Preaching" when they were invited to speak on a non-religious topic in a non-religious setting (this burns the bridge for the rest of us)

Trying to be funny because you think you have to be, even though you're just not a funny person

Walking back-and-forth across the stage too fast, too often (FYI – this was me in the very beginning)

Not knowing what to do with your hands (Don't be a Ricky Bobby!)

Instructing audience members to turn and physically touch their neighbor in some way (its just weird, uncomfortable for most, and nobody likes doing it)


If you've ever wanted to get into speaking and share your message with the world, but are too afraid or just aren't sure where to begin, go check out my short, simple, free online video series called "Speaking Made Simple" at: www.SpeakingMadeSimple.com


What is the #1 thing about a bad public speaker's presentation that annoys you the most? COMMENT BELOW!

Comments (4)
No. 1-4


@lbrindley We'll never be perfect, but we can get REALLY, REALLY good! ;)


Thanks, @BrianF! I guess practice really does make perfect. :)



@lbrindley I hate to say it, but all of them in their own ways. Everybody seems to have their own little blunders as they learn. The important thing is getting up, speaking, finding the blunders, and eliminating them as you grow and consistently become better.


Very good list. Which ones do you think lead to the biggest public speaking blunders?