Guest contributed by Stacey Wonder
All of us can remember listening to a great speaker.
Whether it was a school teacher that took your history class on an exciting adventure through time or it was an employer who really knew just how to sell the company’s message, good speakers are often few and far between. When a person speaks well, the experience for the audience can be truly magical.
Strong motivational speakers are first and foremost powerful storytellers. They do not spend their time reciting long lists of facts and figures. While that information may be included in the story they tell, the speech itself is not about these things.
So, how can you write the kind of speech that inspires people and moves them to take action? It all starts with careful planning. While most motivational speakers make it seem like they are just having a casual conversation with their audience, it takes a lot of preparation for it to feel effortless to the audience.
Spin in the New Light
One of the first things you need to do is decide on your message. Ask yourself, what information you want the audience to leave with. It should reveal a surprising truth about your topic. One thing motivational speakers do not do is tell the same old story. They may discuss the same topic over and over again, but they are known for spinning it in a new light. You want to find a way to question a commonly held belief; this statement should be so profound that it causes the audience to stop and think about your topic and analyze it from a whole new perspective.
When people attend a motivational discussion, their minds are already open and they are looking to be inspired. To be successful, you must deliver on that promise. When writing your speech, try to think of something new and innovative that will make your audience think that they have learned something totally new and exciting.
Give it a Rhythm
Once you have your message, you need to find a way to deliver it without sounding like you’re giving a lecture. Speakers that drone on and on without a rhythm usually lose their audience very quickly. Your speech needs to introduce new information on a regular basis. Generally, to keep them engaged plan on providing a new point at least once every ten minutes.
Still, you don’t want to introduce the point in a straightforward and factual way but deliver it in a way that is engaging.
One of the most important parts of a good story is the beginning. It is the time when your audience will be deciding if you’re worth their time. You need to deliver a strong and attention grabbing message within the first thirty seconds or you may see the audience mentally check out before you ever get started. A great example of a grabbing beginning you can read in Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”
The best way to do that is to make your first sentence one that they are not expecting. Start by telling a personal story that can relate to your message. How long the story will be depends largely on the length of your speech. Obviously, if you have only 10 minutes to speak, your story should get to the point within the first minute but if you have an hour or more to speak then you have the time to weave in intricate details that will tie the audience to you.
Just like with a song, repetition aids memory. When you hear a song, which is the first part of the song you remember? Isn’t it the chorus? Why is that part of the song so memorable? Because it is repeated over and over again throughout the song.
This does not mean that you just keep recanting the same words over and over again, like a chant. While that may work in some cases, the point here is to repeat the general idea behind your message. Try to work this idea into your speech at different intervals. This will drive home the point so that your audience will remember it long after they have left the presentation. Good example of a repetetive motive you can see in “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther.
Choose words that the majority of people will be able to relate to. If your story is about a childhood experience, choose expressions that will evoke powerful memories from others but at the same time is unique. Consider some of these guidelines for how to start your story:
1. Make it different from anyone else’s beginning
2. Take your audience on a mind journey
3. Give your audience something they can relate to
If you have a well-thought-out message that you would like to deliver, but you feel that the words you choose are not that powerful, you can consider hiring an editor at such platforms as Upwork or EssayTigers.
Give Them a Buzz
Your speech should not be full of canned expressions. The more you try to copy other people the less likely you will engage your audience. No two people speak alike so no two people should deliver the same type of speech. Showcase your uniqueness in your speech.
Ask yourself, what makes you tune into a speaker’s message. This will help you to understand the kind of speech you should want to deliver. Usually, it is some type of conflict. A battle of the wits or a challenge between two different personalities. Read Susan B. Anthony’s “On Women’s Right to Vote” to see the example of how a speaker can present and develop the conflict.
If your story contains conflict you will draw your audience in and will be able to hold them there until you are ready to bring home your main point. Leave out a few details so that they will be on the edge of their seats, waiting with bated breath for you to deliver on your promise.
People who attend motivational speeches are looking to be wowed. They are looking for someone to point them in a whole new direction to a place they would have never thought of.
So, don’t be afraid to create a little drama, build up some suspense, and add a touch of mystery. Without conflict, the audience will be able to predict what is going to happen next and when that happens you will have lost them.
Bottom line, when you are writing a speech you are starting a relationship with your audience. Your first words should be chosen to draw them in with a promise of something great, something new and refreshing. Once you have captured their attention, deliver your message with a surprise; something that goes against conventional wisdom.
Repeat that message periodically throughout the speech making sure that you introduce a new idea or concept every ten minutes or so.
When you are ready to close, remind them of what they have learned, give them steps to follow through and finish by closing the loop and going back to the story you started with.
Disclaimer: The opinions and views of Guest contributors are not necessarily those of theglasshammer.com