What was the worst speech you’ve ever delivered and how did you get over it? We all have the time in our lives that we deliver a speech that floundered, that fails, that is absolutely horrible. Let me tell you the story of mine.
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Mine happened when I was 14 and I was in high school and I was going for a job on the student representative council (SRC).
The SRC is a group of students in highs school who discuss matters relating to the students with the teachers and principal. The students of your year elect you to be their representative on the council and you have to give a speech before voting occurs.
My Worst Public Speech Ever
I get up and I decide I want to talk about some things that I disagree about at the school and I give this horrible speech. Absolutely horrible about how we shouldn’t tuck our shirts in and how we shouldn’t wear ties and all very menial things which as a 15 year old boy I thought were very important.
But then to top if all of, when I get down from the stage and we leave the hall, all my friends start laughing at me. And I am like “Why? I understand the speech probably wasn’t the best speech ever given, but what’s so funny?”
The fact was, I was so nervous that the entire time I was giving my speech I was rocking back and forward on my toes and I was actually thrusting my groin back and forth towards the audience.
Not something you want to be doing when you are standing up in front of 150 of your peers.
It was a very horrible situation for me. So there was my worst speech ever, and how did I overcome that, how did I come back from that?
My Next Speech (Almost As Bad)
Well, the next speech I remember was 3 years later and I was a 17 yea old and I was getting up and again speaking in front of the entire class going for school president and
I have written the speech the night before. I had no idea what the class president needed to do. I had just decided that I may well just run for it…why not?
So I am sitting there and people are getting up before me and actually talking about legitimate things and am thinking; ‘Oh what I have written about it is just horrible. I think I have a better chance if I just wing it.’
So I throw my cue cards away, I don’t use them, and I get up in front of the audience, 150 of my peers again, and make a fool of myself.
I stumble; I forget what I had to say. I say that they should elect me because I was good-looking. I got a laugh out of that (but it was kind of a bit of a pity laugh).
And so I backed up my horrible speech with another horrible speech but somehow I came out of that to be a confident public speaker today.
We All Have Bad Speeches From Time To Time
Look, we are all going to have bad speeches.
To quote from Seth Godin ‘Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing better.’
If you want to become a public speaker, if you want to become a good and effective public speaker then the fact is that you are going to have some of those times you are fall on to your face and you do the worst public speech ever. But how do we get over that?
We pick ourselves back up again and we learn from our mistakes. Prepare more in the future, take the feedback we got back from the audience and we look forward to create better speeches in the future.
My best speech to date is probably from my wedding, and again this was a speech that I winged, I just didn’t prepare.
But I didn’t prepare because I knew that I would be speaking from my heart about the woman that I love and that I could come up with something very good.
See, I learned back in year 12 that maybe winging it is bad when you don’t actually know what you are talking about. But when I was at my wedding and I was giving my speech I blew everyone away. I did so because I gave a speech that was from the heart, it was funny and engaging but because I’ve learned from my previous experiences I didn’t thrust towards the audience and I spoke about a subject that I knew a lot about.
So what’s your worst speech ever?
Have a think about it and try to get some lessons from that. Don’t just think ‘that was so horrible; I am never going to speak again.’
Because anything that is worth doing; and public speaking is worth doing is worth doing better!
So take the worst public speech that you have ever given, learn some lessons from it and go forward and speak again.