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Speech Fails

Speech Fails

Occasionally, speeches that are bad get reported on. I’ve assembled a few examples from the net. The question to ask is “did their audience analysis fail? If so what is it they failed to understand and accommodate?”

Use the comments section at the bottom of the page to discuss what the speaker is getting right for the audience

If you go on to the linked websites you can find out more, including YouTube and a lot of advertising at times. However, the quoted write-ups here are enough

2012 Presidential Election Season

Take it from a retired presidential speechwriter: political speeches, as a general rule, are vastly overrated. This is mostly because politicians give too many of them. They’ve become dull and formulaic and have lost most of their impact. There were, however, a few moments in the 2012 campaign where the politicians did manage to tell us something—even if it wasn’t always what they intended.

Jeb Bush – Republican National Convention

Remember this speech? Of course not. Who would have thought that of all the members of the Bush family, the brainy Jeb would be the worst speaker of them all? The former Florida governor’s ponderous, wonky, largely charisma-free lecture on education was one of the great mysteries of an otherwise suspenseless convention. How could anyone have let this happen? Maybe Bush was angling to be Education secretary in a Romney administration. In any event, the speech sharply undermined the idea that he was an odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination the next time the race is open.

Mitt Romney – Acceptance of Presidential Nomination

Romney started his speech with a lame joke to his running mate, “Paul, I still like the playlist on my iPod better than yours.” It didn’t get any better. While devising these remarks, someone on the Romney campaign decided to write the words “freedom” and “America” on a piece of paper and see how many different sentences they could come up with. Though competently delivered, the speech was one of the most ineffective convention addresses in recent memory and the least popular ever recorded in opinion polls. It was also a fitting summary of the Republican campaign: vapid and vain, convinced that it need do nothing but stand upright in order to defeat what it believed to be the universally loathed Obama administration.

Curated from The Best (and Worst) Speeches of 2012

Student Council Pro’s selection of worst Speeches

5 President William Henry Harrison (1841)

William Henry Harrison, the 9th president of the United States, delivered what would become the longest inaugural address in U.S. history when he took office on March 4, 1841. His mammoth, 8,445 word speech, took him almost 2 hours to deliver. He spoke outdoors on a cold and wet day without wearing a proper coat or hat. Despite what many believe, the bad weather did not directly cause his death – yet he caught pneumonia and passed away about a month later. Harrison’s passing made him famous for another reason – he had the shortest presidency in U.S. history… 31 days.

2 Rev James Standridge (2013)

This clip of Reverend Jim Standridge exploded onto the internet in 2013, after he brutally accosted his parishioners for falling asleep during his sermon and for having a poor church attendance record. What makes this clip so disheartening is how he fires off very personal insults to his congregation, telling one person, “you’re not worth $0.15” only to counter that a few seconds later by saying, “do you know I love you, sir?”

When people respond poorly to your presentation, they are almost never the source of the problem. Instead, a speaker must reflect on the reasons why they are not connecting with their audience. Instead of taking offense, use a poor performance as a learning opportunity to improve upon your presentation skills. Unfortunately, Rev. Standridge missed the boat on this one and the results were profoundly harmful to his credibility as a speaker.

1 Phil Davison (2010)

Phil Davison, former councilman of the city of Miverva, Ohio, USA, has the distinction of giving one of the most awkward political speeches ever caught on camera. His high energy speech given before the Star County Republican Party in 2010 went viral overnight and was dubbed by some media commentators as the, “worst speech ever.”

In this clip, Mr. Davison yells at his audience for over six minutes arguing why he should be nominated for County treasurer. His mannerisms are reminiscent of the time former Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer tried to rev up his audience during a company leadership event. (Watch Steve Balmer’s clip here). Davison’s speech is at times funny and cringe-inducing, but a serves as a powerful reminder that giving a speech is never about overpowering your listeners!

Curated from Worst Speeches Ever – Student Council Pro

A campus speech by a politician

“The addresses was fair and he made some good points but he brought too much politics into it. Considering that it was interaction with students, had he been more apolitical, it would have made a link with us,” said an MBA finance student.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s speech at a management college in Mumbai evoked mixed response from students, with many of them saying the speech contained “too much politics” to establish a connect with them.

Curated from ‘Too much politics’ in Rahul Gandhi’s speech fails to impress students | india | Hindustan Times

It was an address about an energy crisis that did not address the energy crisis until after its 2,000th word. A speech that sounded like a religious sermon delivered by a president widely mocked for his tiresome sermonizing.

There are product failures and there is New Coke. There are bad movies and there is Plan 9 From Outer Space. And there are bad presidential speeches and there is Jimmy Carter’s “malaise” speech, the July 15, 1979 address so legendarily horrendous it still elicits disdainful superlatives on the week of its 30-year anniversary.


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