Motivational speakers have been playing vital roles in companies and businesses when it comes to inspiring and uniting their employees to achieve their visions and goals. They have a special skill that allows them to motivate people to be better and to aim for excellence. Some speakers are born with the gift to inspire and persuade a person to strive. Others are trained to acquire these skills and continue to hone them through time.
If one day a person wakes up and finds himself wanting to become a motivational speaker and encourage people to be better versions of themselves, then, he can definitely go out there and speak out. But, will he be effective? Will he be able to achieve his goals? Will he be able to touch the lives of his audience? He might be if he has the gift. But if not, what to do then?
Even the best needed help sometimes. They didn’t become the best in their respective fields overnight. They studied, they practiced, they got feedback and accepted them gracefully, they worked on their areas of opportunities and they practiced some more. Get help. Look for classes or workshops that offer courses and training for public/motivational speaking. Be surrounded by the right people. Join internationally-acclaimed speaking organizations like Toastmasters or The National Speakers Association. Being with this crowd will give one a feel if this path is for him or not. And if it is, below are pointers on how to become an effective motivational speaker:
Study the topic for the talk. Most of the time, a motivational speaker will be given topics that he is not very familiar with. For someone to be able to deliver an effective message, he must become a subject matter expert on the topic. This can only be achieved by one way –by studying. This is like old school, college research. One gathers data, studies them and interprets them. Once the basic information is obtained, that will be the only time that one will be able to put his own spin on it. It is very difficult to call a bluff and pretend to know a topic. At one point, someone will eventually figure it out. And when that happens, bye bye credibility.
Research who the audience will be. Knowing who they are and what makes them tick is the best ammunition any speaker can have.
It would also be helpful to write down the talk. Most effective speakers are also good writers. Plus, it won’t hurt to have something handy if forgetfulness attacks in the middle of the talk.
Don’t be boring. Some speakers are guilty of this. Yes, they have a lot to tell. However, they forgot that the people they are talking to are not sponges. They can’t absorb everything. Attention span can only last for about ten minutes or so thus, it is important to be informative but at the same time, entertaining. Customize and tailor-fit the talk. Make it relevant. An effective motivational speaker should be able to speak to his audience on a personal level while at the same time, promoting the common goal that he wants them, as a group to achieve. It is a unique talent and not many can master this.
Physical appearance and props are also vital during the talk. A good suit and a smile on the face will be a good start. These imply a look that is dignified but amiable and approachable. For props, think of video presentations, or actual dramatizations or power point presentations. Beware however of the “death by bullets.” Don’t kill the audience with bullets upon bullets of information that they won’t remember anyway after the talk. Instead, encourage audience participation and interaction. Make them talk, make them walk and if you can, make them dance. Let them be part of the talk and not just as observers. Let them know beforehand what they will be getting into and how long they will in that venue.
The after party
Sell it. Give handouts after the talk. Make them attractive and at the same time, informative. These will not only benefit the person who attended the talk. He or she will also become a walking advertisement, carrying that wonderfully edited and detailed hand out.
Record it, review it. What better way to assess areas of improvement than by looking at one’s self from a different perspective? It’s always different seeing one’s self in TV.
Get feedback. Audience feedback is the best source of validation if one’s talk is effective or not. Hand out short survey questionnaires after the talk. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. It just needs to be concise and specific and direct to the point. Consolidate the feedback and review them. Accept a compliment gracefully and take any criticism creatively.