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What Makes A Bad Public Speaker? Top 10 Worst Traits To Avoid

An audience will always give apt attention to a public speaker that keeps his message clear, simple, and easy to comprehend. 

Besides, nobody likes a bad public speaker and would want to waste their precious time under the logos of a boring orator.

Below are ten carefully selected traits or qualities that make a bad public speaker, and avoidance will significantly improve your public speaking.

  • Lack of a powerful opening to a speech
  • No Clear outline for a speech
  • Exhibition of distracting mannerisms during speech delivery
  • Writing a speech Without a Thought of the Audience in Mind
  • Deliver a Speech without Connecting with the Audience
  • Lack of Proper Preparation
  • Delivering a Speech that is not Inspiring
  • Poor and Erratic Pauses during a Speech
  • Improper time management during a speech
  • Having too much information, facts, and charts, in a single speech

Before we delve into the details and examples of traits of a bad public speaker, let me share the following article with 9 Qualities of a Great Presenter, so after learning what to avoid, go and learn what you should be doing more. 

Highly Recommended Next Article to Read

 9 Qualities of a Great Presenter

7 Elements of Public Speaking & 8 Tips for Speech Delivery

Why you Sweat When Presenting

Top 10 Worst Traits of a BAD Public Speaker or Presenter

1. Lack of a powerful opening to a speech 

The speech opening is critical because it is the part of the speech that gives an audience the direction of the speech. 

It is a bad trait for a speaker to waste the first few minutes on needless apologies or talks that are not relevant to the audience.

An opening that does not arouse the audience’s interest will not sustain the audience’s attention until the end of the presentation. 

A powerful opening is as important as the message itself. Most speakers fall victim to this bad trait at the beginning of their speech.

2. No clear outline for a speech 

Despite how a speaker may think he knows about a topic and his audience, he will miss some key parts of the speech without a clear outline. The sign will show through a lack of logic and sequence in the message. 

Moreover, the audience will be guessing the sequence instead of proper flow with the speaker. 

A clear outline gives a structure to the message and enables the audience to follow your speech seamlessly.

3. Exhibition of distracting mannerisms during speech delivery 

A mannerism is considered distracting when it does not serve the audience except to cause discomfort to them. 

For instance, lip-licking or chewing gum while delivering a speech are two body language signs that show a lack of professionalism or care for the audience.

These habits do not aid the attention of the audience. Instead, it distracts the attention and makes them uncomfortable. 

Distracting mannerisms may also indicate a sign of insecurity. For instance, avoiding eye contact and leaning against the stand while delivering a speech.

Though distracting mannerisms may display unconsciously, a speaker needs to pay close attention to them. 

This habit makes you a bad speaker, and investing time in correcting it is very important.

4. Writing a speech without a thought of the audience in mind

A speech that does not cater to the need of the audience is as good as nothing. 

A speaker who makes the following two mistakes will not make a good speech or meet the needs of the audience. 

  • Using vague or strange terminologies or abstract stories that the audience cannot understand.
  • Sharing general knowledge that adds no value to the audience.

A speaker who does not know his audience’s needs will end up wasting the time of the audience since he’ll have little or no value for the audience.



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5. Delivery a speech without establishing a bond with the audience 

Not caring about connecting with the audience makes you a bad speaker. When a speaker is seen as a powerful super-being, or a strange and out of reach person, the audience feels uncomfortable listening to such a speaker.

Creating a friendly bond that makes the audience admire your gesture, smiles, speeches, and eye contact make the atmosphere conducive to everyone. Moreover, the learners give proper attention to the speaker because they feel accepted.

6. Lack of proper speech preparation

Excellent public speakers spend time researching their topic, organizing the content, preparing captivating slides, studying their notes, understanding the audience, and practicing their presentation before appearing before the audience.

A speaker that is not well prepared will display signs of incompetence. This lack of proper preparation results in the audience hearing a poorly organized presentation and irrelevant words from the speaker.

7. Delivering a Speech that is not Inspiring  

Regardless of how important our message is, the objective is difficult to achieve if it does not inspire the audience. 

The trait of ignoring speech that first inspires the audience before delivering the intended message makes one a bad speaker.

A speaker who uses both inspiring and informative presentation keeps the audience’s attention longer and achieves the intended objective. Moreover, inspiring words engages the audience and refresh their minds.

8. Poor and erratic pauses during a speech

Most speakers make the terrible habit of running through the content of their presentation without pause. 

Not minding whether the audience is following or not, they read through the entire content.

Conscious pauses in speech give the audience the time to recall what the presenter has given. 

Moreover, the speaker uses the time to confidently transit to another point. Poor pauses in speech cause the audience to lose interest in the speech.

9. Improper time management during a speech

Extending the time of presentation is one of the common traits that makes a bad speaker. 

Irrespective of how important the presentation is, when the time is beyond the audience’s estimated period, they lose interest in the presentation.

It is not uncommon to see a speaker spending too much time on the introduction part of the presentation. Before the speaker gets to the core part of the presentation, the time is up.

The speaker is then forced to rush through the presentation without carrying the audience along. The unfortunate part is that the aim is not adequately achieved despite using more than the allotted time.

10. Having too much information, facts and charts in a speech

Flooding the audience with too much information, facts, charts, and figures that they cannot comprehend is another trait that makes a bad speaker.

While trying to put all the information, they end up confusing the audience, which makes some listeners struggle so hard to understand the content of a speech. 

However, when a presentation is precise and simple to understand, the audience follows the presenter without any distraction. 

This is one of the things that are common among excellent public speakers. They make simple and straightforward speeches through precise and powerful points.


A bad speaker can become one of the most excellent speakers who inspire and deliver clear, precise, and easy-to-comprehend presentations. 

However, this requires knowing the bad habits to avoid, constant practice, and time for mastery. 

Understanding the above traits that make a bad public speaker and avoiding them will make you one of the best public speakers. 

Keep in mind that conscious effort to improve will definitely aid your progress. 

Don’t forget to check the  9 Qualities of a Great Presenter article. And, you should definitely check out this article by Dr. Gary Genard, 7 Bad Public Speaking Habits: Are you Guilty?

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