Are you preparing for a speech – be it a key note speech at a business conference, an award-acceptance speech, or a best-man/bridesmaid speech at a wedding – and in need of some inspiration? Well, we’ve already covered the best of the best in the most captivating speeches ever, but there are plenty of lessons for you to learn in this blog, too.
Here’s what not to do in your speech. From Miss Teen USA and the Oscars to a former president, there have been some truly cringe-worthy speeches given over the years. Here are seven of the cringiest.
Miss Teen USA
Lesson 1: If you get flustered, take a few seconds to compose yourself
We’re not going to badger on too long about how hilarious and cringey this speech from Miss Teen South Carolina is – she’s only a teenager after all. But…the answer is just…it doesn’t really make any…well, just watch it and see for yourself.
If you get heckled, or the nerves get the better of you, give yourself time to think things through before you speak.
Kanye West for President?
Lesson 2: Don’t be overblown
The fact that you’re speaking while everyone else is quiet means you’ve done something right, but don’t get too big for your boots. Charisma and charm can help a bad speech become great, but pomposity can turn a great speech into an exercise in pretentious cringe.
Take this Kanye West speech, for example. In fact, take a look at almost anything Kanye says, ever. Say what you will about his music, but the man knows how to be overblown and polarise an audience. Will he actually run for President? The next few years will be interesting.
Sally Field’s Oscar win
Lesson 3: Don’t keep telling people how much they like you
She wasn’t wrong; right then, in 1984, everyone did like Sally Field – enough to give her a second Oscar. And while it actually seems sweet and sincere, telling people they like you might actually make them like you less.
This speech has been parodied a lot over the years, but not many people know that Field was actually referencing dialogue from one of her previous films. If you’re going to do something similar in your speech, make sure enough people will get the reference!
Painful best man speech
Lesson 4: If you’re going to be boring, at least be prepared
Being asked to be a best man at your friends’ wedding is an honour for most people, and it has no doubt left others wishing it was them. Don’t take it for granted, then, and turn up having prepared nothing!
In this speech, the best man clearly has nothing to say, hasn’t thought about his speech, and doesn’t really seem like he wants to be doing it at all. Shame, really.
Clint Eastwood – Republican National Convention
Lesson 5: Awful jokes can be painful. Run them by someone first…
Clint Eastwood might be an on-screen icon, but he’s a blabbering buffoon in this speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The joke is supposed to be that Eastwood is interviewing the President, Barack Obama, when in fact he’s talking to some empty chairs. The imaginary president then tells Eastwood to…well; let’s say it’s a ruder way to say “get lost.” Yeah. That’s meant to be a joke.
In subsequent TV interviews, even people working on the Mitt Romney campaign described Eastwood’s speech as “strange”, “weird”, and “theatre of the absurd”. See what you think.
Nervous drunk best man speech
Lesson 6: Stay away from the sauce before your speech
Some people like a drink to ease their nerves, but too much alcohol can ruin all of your hard work. You’ll want to deliver your words with clarity and control, not in a stumbling, mumbling fashion.
In this video, we can see that the audience is clearly on the best man’s side. However, we can’t help but think the wedding guests are laughing more at him than with him. Luckily he holds it together, but will you be as lucky?
George W. Bush – Every speech ever
Lesson 7: Just don’t be like George W. Bush
The former President of the USA was an accidental comedic genius, and because of that became a laughing stock. Watch this video, and do the exact opposite.
Not feeling confident about your speech? We suggest checking out the most captivating speeches ever.