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Why Every Leader Needs to be a Motivational Speaker

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 @ 02:28 PM

motivational speakerDid you know that more people fear public speaking than fear dying (Roydhouse, 2001: 17)? As someone who makes her living as a motivational speaker, I don't know why. Apparently, it has to do with a fear of being humiliated. In the early years, I bombed while giving a motivational speech many times and I lived to talk about it! It's really not so bad. It is rather humbling- but it's important to remember that the audience doesn't hate you, they just hate your speech.

Love it or loathe it, public speaking is one of the most critical skills we need as leaders. Communication is always key. One of the main reasons people quit their jobs is because of their leaders inability to communicate appreciation and respect for the valuable work employees do.

When I am a motivational speaker at leadership retreats, I often hear leaders suggest that they hate public speaking. To this I will tell them, "Too bad, get over it, it's part of your job." Many people are promoted into leadership positions not because they have great leadership skills, but because they have great on the job technical skills. Their performance technically or clinically gets them promoted to the management/leadership level, which requires more than sound technical or clinical skills.  Good communication is the single most important leadership skill a leader needs.

Giving a motivational speech should not be a formal ceremony but a regular on the job procedure. I encourage managers to informally walk around and talk to groups of employees while they are working. Ask them how things are going, notice what they do right, talk about strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threats.

In the beginning, just have a basic outline of things you want to communicate.  Keep it positive, uplifting and share the message with energy and enthusiasm. After a while, employees will get used to these motivational speeches and your inspirational messages will start to have a life of their own. As a motivational speaker, I love to observe how motivation gains momentum in an audience and starts to spread.

Leaders who are great public speakers truly inspire and engage employees beyond the job. Employees are more loyal, engaged and motivated when their leaders share their passion with them.

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Tags: motivational speaker, motivational speech, public speaking

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