How Motivational Speakers Nail Their Speeches: 8 Tips

A young business woman giving a presentation in a conference | Feature | How Motivational Speakers Nail Their Speeches: 8 Tips
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Public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world. To increase your confidence when it comes to stepping up on stage and talking at a crowd of strangers, we’ve rounded up some quick tips from professional motivational speakers.

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Tips From Motivational Speakers

Write For The Audience -- Tara Goodfellow

When you are writing your speech, think of your audience. How old are they? What level of expertise do they have on the subject? What is their driving force? What kind of mood will they be in when listening to you speak? All of these questions should inform your writing and provide a solid baseline for a successful speech.

Read more tips on writing a great speech.

Don’t Get Technical -- Barry Schwartz

One of the main goals of motivational speakers is to keep the interest of the audience. Nothing loses interest more quickly than using technical terms and jargon that the audience cannot understand.

Unless you’re talking to a room full of experts in your field, it’s best to speak as if you’re having a casual conversation with a friend who does not know the ins and outs of your business.

Don’t Lecture -- Kristi Hedges

Do not talk at the audience the whole time. That might be what a traditional speech looks like, but nowadays, motivational speakers have to appeal to shorter attention spans by shaking things up with different formats.

If you can, incorporate new media into your speech by playing a short video from the internet. You can even include an interactive portion in your speech by having the audience fill out a few questions on their phones.

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Go Off-Script -- Michael Port

Close-up of a person_s hand marking error with red marker on document | Go Off-Script | How Motivational Speakers Nail Their Speeches: 8 Tips

Almost no one — not even motivational speakers — can be interesting when just recalling a scripted speech word-for-word. It would help if you forced yourself to think on your feet a bit, while still maintaining a clear speech direction, to preserve that interesting, spontaneous feel.

Perhaps the best option is writing your speech extemporaneously — just writing the main points you want to hit. The points should come 15-30 seconds apart in your speech, and it is your job to bridge the gaps in between those points with less scripted content.

Of course, you’ll still practice your speech beforehand and, therefore, have a good idea of what kind of content you will use. You just won’t be writing it down, so it might change a bit from time to time.

Develop Great First and Last Lines -- Josephine Lee

The first and last lines of your speech need special attention. Not only do they need to be memorized word-for-word, but they should be catchy.

There should also be a strong thematic connection between them. This connection bookending the speech will help the audience digest the whole thing and will cause the address itself to sit better in their minds.

Don’t Use Powerpoint -- Mike Michalowitcz

Usually, when Powerpoint is used during a speech, it’s being used as a crutch. Great motivational speakers aim to paint pictures in their audience’s minds, not show them images of what they’re talking about.

That is not to say that Powerpoint is always wrong. If you use it as a supplement that simply recaps the images you’ve already created, you shouldn’t be afraid of using it. When you do, though, be sure to include limited or no text. Otherwise, people will focus on the Powerpoint instead of you, which is disastrous for your speech.

Here are some more reasons you should stop using Powerpoint in speeches.

Smile -- Ellyn Spragins

It might sound cheesy, but smiling really is a fantastic way to increase your charisma during speeches. One of your primary goals is to connect with your audience, and a smile removes some of the barriers between you and them.

As a side note, you need to resist the urge to distance yourself from the audience in other ways. Don’t hide behind the podium, and don’t divert your eyes from the audience.

Practice A LOT -- Rajiv Nathan

Politician planning speach in front of mirror | Practice A LOT | How Motivational Speakers Nail Their Speeches: 8 Tips

Maybe obvious, but good advice nonetheless: practice, practice, practice. Motivational speakers often practice their speeches 100 times to get the rhythm of them down, and you should probably do it even more since last we checked, you were not speaking professionally.

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You don’t need to be behind a podium in an auditorium to practice; you can do it anywhere, from the shower to the car during your commute.

When you practice, make sure you picture the audience in front of you and engage with them. Learning to deliver your speech without focusing on the audience will result in poor performance during the actual presentation.

These 8 tips should serve as a great jumping-off point for delivering highly successful speeches. If you have any more tips not mentioned here, let us know in the comments section!



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