Posts Tagged ‘motivational speech’

So, as a speaker you are hoping to move people. That’s what motivation is – movement. A motivational speaker moves people to think, act and believe in a different way. Maybe you’d like them to donate, or get involved in a cause or at least stop dropping cigarette butts on the beach.

You are aiming to make a change in people’s lives. To do this you start where they are. This is not easy because  audiences are mentally in many different spaces. Some may already be even more fervent believers than you are. Others may think the whole idea is nutso and you can almost see them rolling their eyes. Some may be bored or tired and everyone else is somewhere in between.

How do you pull them all (well, most of them) in and get them all moving in the direction you want them to go? Short of bringing in border collies you’ll find the 3H approach useful.


Giving the audience information is a good start but it is not enough. Having information establishes your credibility in this area. Your research and knowledge gives you the factual base on which you build. It needs to be strong and solid but not overwhelming.

If you have a lot of information print up a handout so people can read it and understand it at their leisure.


Appeal to the emotions. Show – I repeat – SHOW the difference a change will make to each person present and perhaps also to others.

“Show” means vivid before and after word pictures, stories and illustrations. Vividly portray the difficulties and problems experienced by one person (you?) before the change you are promoting. Then  show the far better results afterwards.

The audience needs to feel the pain of ‘before’ and the contrasting relief of ‘after’. You need to touch their  emotions so that your words go beyond their rational thought and burrow deep into the emotions. You have to make people care. If they don’t “get it” on an emotional level they are unlikely to change.


Humor is the light touch that adds the dimension of humanity to what might otherwise be a rather heavy speech. Has your own journey towards this change been absolutely perfect? No? Poke a little fun at yourself. Show your mistakes, the dumber the better. If you only made little boring mistakes, borrow some big fat funny ones from someone else.

When you put together the head, heart and humor you make your audience think, relate to you and to the issue. They can relax with a smile knowing we’re all human and all in this together.

These three strands knit together your theme and ideas and pull your audience into a group that thinks, feels and smiles with you. Now you can drive home your major point, confident that your audience is fully listening.

Now is the time for your call to action – your 3H preparation has your audience ready and waiting for it.

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The evaluator’s first questions here are – Motivated to do what? Inspired in what way?

The motivational speech needs as its theme – that the audience will be happier or more productive  or better parents if they followed this path. The problem situation before the action needs to be clear, the steps to a better or wealthier life need to be clear and the possible happy-ever-after result should be attainable and desirable.

The speaker might start with a picture of someone going deeper into debt each month, show ways to conserve money consistently and end with the happy conclusion that the person will be out of debt in two years if they follow these simple steps. It’s part information but it’s wrapped in a thick blanket of “You can do it”. It’s encouraging, it’s hopeful, it shows the way to a happier life.

The inspirational speech is usually not quite so focused on how to get to a specific desirable result. Often it is the story of how someone overcame severe difficulties and obstacles. Often it is a personal story and the audience sees before them the inspiring end result. The speaker has selected one or more desirable traits – persistence, courage, a positive outlook – and told how he used them to overcome his issues. He is encouraging the audience to try similar strategies to improve their life.

The evaluator is first clarifying the message, then analyzing how well it was presented. As always – Was the message clear? How could it have been made clearer? What techniques were used to present the message? Could other techniques have conveyed the message more strongly?

These speeches rely on stories, usually personal stories to put the message across. The speaker should have been open in presenting his struggles, his failures in trying to overcome the problem. Did you feel that he was honest and open or did he paint a picture that was a bit more attractive then the cold hard truth?

These speeches also rely on touches of humor and of emotion. Listening to all that hardship is hard on an audience – they need to relax with a laugh once in a while. If it comes unexpectedly all the better. The touch of humor serves to emphasize the message and strengthen it. Look for those touches of humor and appreciate them.

The emotion is often implicit in the inspirational speech. How well was it handled by the speaker? Did he gloss over it? Did he wallow in it too deeply? In what way did the emotion of the speech touch you? How did you feel? Now it’s your turn to open up to the audience.

This type of speech looks to change the audience. How were you changed? How will you be different after hearing it?


Visit www.toastmasterspeeches.com

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