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How to Give a Motivational Talk on a Boring Topic

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 @ 11:35 AM

motivational keynote speaker for insurance conferenceI was recenly a motivational keynote speaker for an insurance conference. After my motivational speech, a delegate came up to me and lamented how lucky I am to be the humorous motivational speaker because my topic is fun.

I checked and every other guest speaker on the agenda had to deliver on boring industry topics - daunting for the people on both sides of the microphone!

I have to agree, some content is just plain boring. Segregated funds, insurance plans, health trusts . . . it's tough to make some content captivating. Many guest speakers are asked to speak on dead boring topics that make audience members want to rip their eyebrows out just to stay awake.

Never fear, even boring content can be motivating.  All talks should be motivational - or they should be eliminated!

Here's how a guest speaker can give a motivational talk on a boring topic:

Present only information that is interesting to your audience.

Most boring guest speaker overwhelm their speech with too much detail and unnecessary, superfluous information. Only about 10% of what you think you need to say really needs to be said.

Audiences are smart and resourceful, they can look details up. The only information you need to provide is the information to get them interested so that they WANT to look up details.  The speaker should motivate the audience toward the speech objective. Do not include anything else! To plan your motivational talk, ask yourself, What points do you need to make to reach your speech objective? Fact, details, stories that support this objective are the only things relevant to your talk.

Include the human element.

Never underestimate the power that stories and humor have to engage an audience. Always include stories and analogies to drive your point home. They are positively memorable, and an inspirational or motivational speaker wants to be memorable, positively.  I was a motivational keynote speaker for an insurance conference where another guest speaker told a story about a client who refused insurance, got in a car accident and lost everything (very sad, but motivational towards his speech objective, to buy insurance).


A guest speaker at an industry event is an expert but be aware that in these elite specialized audiences, so is everybody else. Do not preach to them, or they will loathe you. Instead aim for a warm, interactive approach. Ask open ended questions of audience members ... "What is your experience with third party payors who refuse to pay?" ... which likely will bring nervous laughter. Or ask closed ended questions that require delegates to raise their hands. If you are struggling to engage a dead crowd, have the audience work with a partner or a small group on a certain dilemma or question.

If all else fails, gently poke fun at someone in the audience to break the ice (pick these people in advance and be very careful). If you are bombing in your motivational speech, the tension in the room is fertile grounds for humor!

Spice up your delivery.

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Tags: guest speaker, motivational talk, motivational keynote speaker for an insurance conf

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