For a motivational speaker, creating a good message is just half of the job. The other half belongs to the presentation department because a good message not delivered effectively is no different from an incomprehensible and unhelpful message. Motivational speaking is not just about you talking but about you presenting, which includes visual and audio materials, activity materials, and your whole body as the primary channel.
Don’t waste a good opportunity to make a lasting good impression. Make your presentation impressive the first time around.
1. Identify your goals
Before devising your entire presentation, identify all your goals first, and have those goals met one by one. Ask yourself these questions:
• What are the points you want to make? The entire presentation should revolve around them.
• What do you want your audience to feel and think after the presentation? Each section of your speech will depend on how you want the mood of the audience to change throughout the presentation.
• What atmosphere do you want to set in the venue? Is it light, serious or humorous? The manner at which your make the presentation will depend on the atmosphere you want to establish.
• How are you planning to gain and regain the audience’s interest? What are your primary strategies to make your presentation engaging, and what backup plans can you use once the concentration of the audience drifts apart? A motivational speaker can use anecdotes and testimonials to gain interest, and jokes and practical activities to regain it.
2. Establish eye contact the moment you set foot on stage.
Making a connection the very first time the members of the audience lay eyes on you on stage is crucial for your entire presentation because this is the time when they still have the energy, excitement, and eagerness to listen attentively. Grab their attention while they are yet to make unfair judgments of you. The impression you make at this point is bound to last longer.
Many motivational speakers fail in this part of the presentation without intending to. Some of them ignore the audience completely by focusing their attention on the lectern, projector, or teleprompter. Some of them also start by looking at their copies instead of in the eyes of the people in front of them.
The lack of eye contact results to low enthusiasm on both parts. Just imagine the eyes of your audience as your tickets to success—don’t let them get out of your sight. You won’t see your audience on your notes—they’re in front of you.
3. Start with the most compelling points.
The speech of a motivational speaker is not like a top 10 countdown where the best is saved for last. Those in the audience have a short attention span; they won’t wait for a couple of hours to hear what they need. You are just going to waste a precious opportunity to create impact by doing so.
For a stronger approach, start your speech by presenting your most compelling points. The buildup should be from the highest downwards (although sustaining the height is ideal), to be picked up again in the end by giving your conclusion. You can also start by establishing the questions you want answered by the end of your presentation, and why those questions make sense when answered. This is a compelling strategy to make the audience listen to you, so that they can find the answers themselves.
4. Keep your audience involved.
A motivational speaker, although guided by a written speech, is more like an impromptu speaker, which is why reading a speech word for word is never recommended in this type of public speech. Hence, you are expected to converse and not address.
Memorize your outline and not the entire speech, so that you can sound natural, like someone who is just talking to a crowd. Ask questions even when you do not really expect their answers. Allow them to preempt what you want to say by keeping some of your sentences hanging.