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Think of a time when you heard a presentation where you did not feel that the speaker had credibility. Explain in detail what the speaker did or said to make you think he or she lacks credibility. Also, what would be your advise to the speaker to help him/her improve?

When reflecting on a speech you have heard where the speaker lost credibility, consider that a speaker can lose credibility through lack of experience with the topic, lack of preparation for the speech, lack of confidence in herself or in the topic, lack of professionalism toward the audience, and lack of correct information.

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You'll have to apply my reflections to speeches you've heard yourself to provide those specifics your instructor is looking for, so if you're struggling trying to reconsider speeches, I'd suggest searching online for videos of people delivering speeches on any given number of topics that interest you. For example, I...

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You'll have to apply my reflections to speeches you've heard yourself to provide those specifics your instructor is looking for, so if you're struggling trying to reconsider speeches, I'd suggest searching online for videos of people delivering speeches on any given number of topics that interest you. For example, I might search keywords based on my interests, such as "speech on the importance of national parks."

You'll quickly see that this has both the word "speech" and is notably opinionated. This should help you find the items that are best suited to your use.

Here are some ways I've seen speakers falter in credibility.

  • Lack of experience. There are few things more frustrating than being asked to sit through a speech where the speaker's lack of experience is a clear issue. Parenting advice from a person who has never parented? Educational techniques from a person with limited (or no) educational experience? Whether it's a quick look in the bio or the way the content is presented, a lack of experience can certainly be a stumbling block for the audience. The audience needs to feel that the speaker has sufficient knowledge through practical experience. When the speech is based in hypotheticals and possibilities, it is a tough sell in credibility.

  • Lack of confidence. I have also sat through speeches where the presenter had plenty of experience, but his confidence in the material was lacking so much that it was tough to listen to.

  • Lack of preparation. Speakers who fumble for the correct slide, can't seem to recall what they were going to say for a particular bullet point, or can't explain a segment of the content well lose credibility points.

  • Lack of professionalism. This can come through both in appearance and in speech. Speakers who look poorly prepared for a speech or who engage with the audience in non-professional ways (I've seen one speaker start yelling at an audience member for bringing food in to his presentation) lose credibility.

  • Providing incorrect information. Whether the information is simply outdated (think of technology and how quickly it evolves) or just wrong, it's hard to keep listening to a speaker when you realize they have supplied incorrect information in a speech.

I hope this helps you evaluate some speeches you've heard or will listen to online. Good luck!

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