Frequently Asked Questions – Motivational Speaking

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers on the subject of improving your motivational speaking techniques.

These come from someone with over 30 years' experience in commerce and industry and with extensive knowledge of motivational speaking and training.

Speaker

What is the most important aspect of successful motivational speaking?

The outcome.

If you have influenced your audience in your intended direction and persuaded them to change their behaviours or adopt new ones, you will have succeeded.

Feedback of the "very entertaining speech" variety is not, in itself, a measure of success unless it's accompanied by positive action as a result.

What's the most important personal characteristic required for success?

There isn't one but three:

  • Conviction - if you clearly don't 100% believe your message then why should you expect others to? This is closely linked to personal confidence of course.
  • Knowledge - conviction alone is useless if your audience perceives (rightly or wrongly) that you don't really know what you're talking about.
  • Pertinence - you must be speaking on a subject that is relevant to the audience. If it isn't, you won't change their behaviours even if they think it was a great and interesting speech.

You can't separate these three things.Isn't technique important?

Yes, very much so. You can learn lots about team building and motivational speaking techniques from experts in the field out there.

However, good technique alone can't compensate for a lack of the above three things.

Is motivational speaking always effective?

Yes when done properly but there has to be a degree of common sense applied.

One aspect of that is audience intelligence gathering. You need to know that your audience is at least potentially receptive to your message.

To give a crude example, you can address a forum of vegetarians all you like and using the best techniques but you're not going to motivate them, to any significant degree, to change to a meat-based diet.

To put it another way, don't expect motivational speaking techniques to overcome a "mission impossible" objective for your dialogue.

Is this technique only applicable at formal sessions?

No, motivational speaking can and should be applied in many casual and informal environments. It's most certainly not reserved for big speeches and presentations.

For example, it's an excellent technique for team managers and leaders to master. If you can't motivate your team constantly by your communications and demonstrated behaviours, then you're lacking a key skill required for leadership success.

Why have you mentioned personal behaviour examples?

Essentially, your audience (whether formal or workday colleagues) will usually spot immediately that you're saying one thing and doing another.

This has been known about since the beginning of time and is often summarised by the old saying "practice what you preach". We can all think of examples from politics where public figures have been arguing that we should all do "XYZ" when events have shown them to be doing something quite different.

So, the join between the positions you adopt with motivational speaking and your own behaviours must be totally seamless if you're to avoid being seen as a hypocrite.

The WA Institute of Martial Arts is one of the most professional and innovative martial arts centre in WA. One of our specialist areas involves helping people develop the techniques required for motivational speaking - notably including the self-confidence that requires.

Photo by Marcos Luiz Photograph on Unsplash

 

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Public Speaking quote from Henry Ward Beecher

It's such a lovely old-fashioned quote, isn't it? "Whip with a switch" from the days of horses and horse carriages. And I would think that if you used a switch without leaves it would certainly tingle, though these days we shudder a little at the thought of beating the poor animal.

Nevertheless, writing as he was, in his time, Henry Ward has made a timeless point - waffling does not drive home searching truths.

And there's another wonderful term "searching truths". Ah! If all the points I make when I speak cause my audiences to search their beliefs and themselves, I would be very happy!

I wish you (and me) speaking experiences that drive us and our points home ... in fine style!

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101 Ways to Captivate a Business Audience

There's nothing worse than sitting in the audience while an inept speaker stumbles through an ill-conceived business presentation-- unless, of course, you're the one floundering in the spotlight. In 101 Ways to Captivate a Business Audience, Sue Gaulke, founder of the Speaker's Training Camp, strips the mysteries from the process by showing how to prepare and present an effective address that will successfully involve your audience and deliver your message.

The guide presents 101 audience-tested anecdotes, experiences, quotes and insights designed to help readers become captivating, creative and stress-free presenters. It teaches "how-to" skills and learnable behaviours that can be put to immediate use. Information on controlling nerves is also included.

It is extremely quick and easy to read. The ideas are stimulating and there are very relevant topics such as its steak and sizzle technique to keep the listeners on their feet.

 

Buy the Book ... from Fishpond.com.au  or Amazon

 

 

Make Them Feel it

“People will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)

Truer words in speaking have never been said.
ls & whistles. We even saw some sleek exteriors as well. But we still settled on the Lexus.

And honestly, we bought it for the "L". The little "L" piece of metal that adorns the trunk and centre of the steering wheel.

Why? Because we buy with emotion and justify with logic.

Sure we saw more reasonably priced cars. But Lexus equals a bit more luxury, a bit more status, and a bit more class than the other cars we saw. And that's why we bought it. But we tell people, "we got a good deal", or "it drives better than the other cars" or some other reason that, although it's probably true, it's not why we bought the car.

My wife loves the car because of how it makes her FEEL. She loves sitting in the heated leather seats. She loves the push button start and the low hum of the engine. She loves cruising on the highway and feeling the smooth power of the vehicle.

Emotion is why we buy.
Emotion is also why we listen.

When you speak, you had better evoke some emotion out of your audience. Otherwise you WILL be forgotten after your speech is over. Maybe even before.

Make your audience do one of three things, and they will remember you long after you have finished speaking. Make them do all 3, and you will be far ahead of most speakers.

1) Make them LAUGH

I start with this one due to personal reasons. I love giving inspirational speeches. I literally get goosebumps when I get to the main message within my speech. I remember going to a conference and a speaker taught a breakout session on how to speak. He said that he gave motivational speeches, and that humor "wasn't his thing". I remember nodding thinking, "Yup! That's me! I'm a motivational guy, not a funny guy."  I couldn't have been more misguided. The truth is this - If eyes are the window to the soul, laughter is the gateway. Comedian Steve Harvey once said that his mentor Bill Cosby told him that when you get people to laugh, you have their undivided attention. And when you have someone's undivided attention, you have the ability to affect them and make a positive impact on their lives. Once I learned that, I made it a point to uncover and add humor EVERY time I speak, regardless of topic. If you want to impact your audience,add excitement to every speech, and have audiences asking to hear more of you, you should do the same.

Related article:  Once more with feeling

2) Make them THINK

When you speak, as Speaker Susan Lamb-Robinson says, you need to "Get under the skin, and get into the heart". Sometimes you have to make people think about the pain they will have if they don't follow the message that you are suggesting. Sometimes people won't move until the pain of standing still hurts badly enough. So don't be afraid to make your audience think. The emotion of Fear resulting from Inaction, can often be as powerful as the emotion of Happiness resulting from taking action. Make them Think, make them Feel, and they will Remember and Act.

3) Make them REFLECT

Reflection is an extension of thinking. When you find ways to make your audience not only think, but to reflect on their OWN reality or events from their past, then you've really got something! When people think about your story, you relate to them. But when they additionally REFLECT on their own stories in addition to yours, then you've moved them. They will be listening to you, while feeling the emotions related to their own lives. And that is a VERY powerful effect to have on someone. Get them to reflect, and they will be waiting for YOU to tell them what to do next.

People may forget what you say, but they will NEVER forget how you made them feel. And if you make them feel, they will also remember the most important things that you say.

This is a guest post from Kwesi Millington.

Kwesi is a public speaking, storytelling & confidence coach, teaching you to speak, share, serve and live with greater confidence. Check out his website at www.CommunicateToCreate.com and do watch his periscopes. He shares some very practical tips on speaking and story.

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Quote from Rosalynn Carter

Blast Off to Big Results: Openings Set the Tone

When you stand up to speak, you have no guarantees that your audience will listen intently to your every word. We all know that behind those "I'm-all ears" looks, your listeners' minds can wander. Think about how much your mind has wandered during other people's presentations!

You can't gain support, sell ideas, or push a new initiative if people aren't listening. So, it's your job to shatter that fixed facade, grab your listeners' attention, and hold on tight. You have to earn their attention right from the beginning of your talk. Here's how:

Plan. Plan your opening words carefully. Don't stumble into your presentation with a hackneyed "Today, I'm going to talk about..." Say something meaningful (even bold!) that will grab the attention of your audience immediately. Don't lead up to it with trivialities. Think about your audience's single biggest concern within your topic, and speak directly to it. There are a lot of different ways to open a talk; just make sure you ichoose one that begins with substance and matters to your listeners.

Rehearse. Stand up and deliver your opening out loud several times prior to the talk. Make sure you can do it comfortably and reliably. For most people, the first words of a presentation are the hardest. Make certain you know yours well enough so you don't have to worry about them. By spending extra rehearsal time on your opening, you can turn the hardest part of your talk into the easiest.

Get ready. When the time comes to deliver your presentation, you will want to be focused, in control of your voice, your body language, and those pre-presentation jitters. So, before you stand up to speak, practice some "stage fright" prevention. Use our tips for breathing easily to warm up. If you have a chance to exercise or go for a walk before your presentation, do it. It's important that your mind and your body are ready to deliver a powerful presentation when you arrive in the room.

Connect. Make an immediate connection with your audience. Look 'em in the eye. Before you begin, find a "focus person" for your opening. The focus person should be someone who is sitting toward the back of the room and roughly in the center. Ideally, this should be a person who will listen attentively and will be a friendly face for your first sentence or two. Remember to establish your eye focus first, then take a fresh breath, and, only after you have a full tank of air, begin to speak.

Leap. As much as possible, jump right into your talk. Get right to the point. Try to avoid any long preambles or explanations. Deliver your opening just as you've practiced it, right to your focus person. Once you've landed your opening, the rest of your presentation is more likely to go smoothly. And, you will have gained the attention of the audience right from the start of your talk.

Stop ... and go. After you deliver your opening, pause. Let your words sink in for a second or two. Next, link that opening to the body of your presentation. Make sure your audience sees how your opening leads into your first point. There's nothing worse than gearing everyone up with a great opener, only to let everyone down by wandering off on other track.

And they're off... You delivered your opening and linked it to your first point. You've set the stage for your success. You've got momentum heading into the body of your presentation. You're out of the gate and rounding the bend. Just make sure to keep your head up, eyes focused on your audience, and charge ahead with an energetic and effective presentation.

 

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