Be an effective motivational speaker the first time around. Here are seven tips to help you achieve that:
1. Talk to one person, not to the entire audience.
Have you ever noticed why TV and radio hosts talk on air like they only have one audience or listener? A person feels like he’s merely part of the audience when a motivational speaker addresses everyone exactly like a crowd. On the other hand, he feels more special when the speaker seems to be talking to him directly like no one is around them.
2. Give partial handouts for the outline or main topics before the speech.
The audience want to have an idea of what you are going to talk about. They need to have a guide in their minds to be able to listen intently and attentively. Hence, giving handouts or reference materials at the beginning is important. However, you do not want to hand over the entire copy before you start because their tendency is to read the materials as you speak.
3. Give complete handouts (with conclusion) at the end of your speech.
Many people in the audience will no longer listen attentively if they already have a copy of your presentation from the beginning. That defeats your purpose. However, those who listen carefully want to go home with something that they can consult all over and over again. Bid them farewell with your own words printed on paper.
4. Start with the end.
A good motivational speaker knows how to anticipate the ending of his speech. He already looks forward to the conclusion even before he starts. He already anticipates the audience’s reactions to steer his entire presentation to the right direction. Hence, you have to start by giving the audience an idea of your conclusion, then move on to the details as you run through it.
5. Learn how to maximize the venue.
A smart motivational speaker knows how to use the venue to his advantage. He knows how to adjust the sound system to achieve the mood he wants. He knows when to dim the light for the added drama. He knows how to match the font size of his slides to the sitting capacity and distance of the last row to the screen. He plans his blocking in advance to make use of the entire stage. Visit or research the venue, its features, dimension, and capacity in advance, so that you can plan ahead.
6. Encourage a Q&A session in the middle of your speech.
Some novice speakers wonder whether it is smarter to place a Q&A session in the middle of a presentation or after. Well, the answer is somewhere on the middle. It is more engaging and memorable if lingering questions are discussed while you are tackling the main topics. This is the time when the audience still has enthusiasm. Doing it in the end when they are already looking forward to going home will render the Q&A session less effective.
7. Do not assume that there will be a Q&A session.
A motivational speaker who assumes that there will be a Q&A session at the end of his speech faces the risk of running out of things to say when there is still time left. Say you have an hour, and you allotted the last 15 minutes for the Q&A. That means you shortened the entire presentation into 45 minutes all in all. But what if no one in the audience has something to ask anyway? That also means you wasted 15 minutes for nothing, which should have been used to elaborate your topic and give more examples for better comprehension. Some people from the audience will hold their tongue even if they have valid questions because they might want to go home already.
Forcing the audience to ask questions is one option, but that only makes you look pathetic.