While the primary purpose of any motivational speaking activity is to share relevant information with the audience, your goal should also be to foster a connection with those who are listening to your presentation. You want to be seen as friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. Spending some time learning about the needs of your audience will pay off in a more successful way.
Inexperienced speakers often over prepare for their lectures. They memorize speeches word for word, resulting in a stiff and forced performance that does not allow for any flexibility. An experienced motivational speaker knows that their talk is a two-way street.
He aspires to create a dialogue with the audience and prepares for their presentation, but he avoids the trap of over-rehearsing. Instead of delivering a prepackaged monologue, he uses simple note cards to remind himself of his main points and tailors his performances to each individual situation. He has the confidence to step outside his comfort zone.
Earn the Respect of Your Audience
A successful motivational speaker who runs the website MotivationalSpeakerz.com stated that, “Before you even begin your speech, you should take a few moments to get a sense of the emotional, mental, and physical state of your audience.” Do they seem restless or are they sitting attentively? Do they look tired, hungry, or irritable? Does the man in the back row look like he’s about to fall asleep? Is there a woman who seems to care more about talking on her cell phone than listening to what you have to say? Are people chatting amongst themselves or reading newspapers as they wait for you to begin?”
It’s essential that you get a sense of the crowd you are going to be addressing. If you believe that your audience is not in the best frame of mind to listen to your presentation, you have a few options. To deal with an audience that appears irritable and disinterested, you can ask everyone to close their eyes and take a few deep breaths. If your audience seems physically uncomfortable, you can give them a quick opportunity to stretch, use the restroom, or grab a bite to eat. Giving the audience a few minutes to refocus may take away from your available time, but this extra effort will pay off by providing listeners that are more attentive.
Once your presentation begins, let the audience be your guide. If you notice that people seem to be leaning forward in their chairs, you may be speaking too softly or too fast to be properly understood. It is a good sign when your audience is nodding in agreement, but puzzled looks mean that you may want to use additional examples to clarify your main points. If furrowed brows when using technical jargon or unfamiliar slang greet you, strategic pauses may be more effective in getting your message across.
Create An Engaging Motivational Speaking Presentation
Your presentation itself should be structured to answer the primary question every audience member will ask. Audiences want to know “What’s in it for me?” If you are speaking about an increase in public school funding to an audience with no children of their own, you need to show them why they should care about this issue. If you are trying to convince your supervisor to hire additional technical support staff for your company, explain how this expense will benefit him by improving employee productivity.
Keeping audiences engaged requires a creative approach to public speaking. Experienced speakers give their audiences a place in their presentations by adding interactive elements. They ask questions and allow opportunities for comments. They address key members of the audience by name, reference events that are important to the audience, or acknowledge specific experiences that are common to the group. When appropriate to the topic, they include icebreakers or group activities.
If you are using humor as part of your presentation, the last thing you want to do is inadvertently offend your audience. When used effectively, humor can increase the retention of vital information, enliven otherwise bland topics, and create a connection between the audience and the motivational speaker. However, the inappropriate use of humor can cause any presentation to fall flat. If your jokes are greeted with dead silence, consider that your humor may not be appropriate for this particular environment. You may be using humor that is targeted toward men or young adults, instead of comedy that can be appreciated by a more diverse audience.