Engage. Empower. Inspire
"As an internationally recognized
motivational keynote speaker, Jody has
the expertise, the passion, and the experience
to deliver the right message to revitalize
- “A Great Speaker” Byron, Washington County Treasurer
There is no better way to influence a group of people than through public speaking. Today, people count on email, social media, blogs and several online means to communicate ideas. However, nothing trumps the power of getting up in front of a room, looking people in the eyes and sharing your energy and ideas. Look at any influential leader today, and you will see he regularly gives motivational speeches to move a room to action.
Any leader who cowers at public speaking needs to understand it's powerful impact on a team, culture, and morale. Without regular motivational speeches, groups lack congruence, purpose, direction, and confidence.
You can learn to become a powerful speaker, and reduce nerves, stress, and anxiety around public speaking .
Stop Making it All About You.
When I started as a motivational speaker, I remember the days when I would approach the stage, overwhelmed with fear and self-doubt. My mind kept gnawing at me with reminders; I have to be interesting, I have to say it correctly, I have to be energetic.
The trouble with this thinking is it’s all about me. I was so wrapped up in preserving my self-worth that I forgot to focus on the audience.
In any area of life, the pressure to perform mounts when the focus is self-absorbed, eventually it can exhaust you to burn out.
With the help of the book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways, I learned to focus less on me and more on the audience and the goal of the speech.
Motivational speaker, Dale Carnegie says, being interested in other people is a lot easier than trying to get others interested in you.
Here are some tips for writing and delivering an outstanding motivational speech:
Actively involve the audience and think of yourself as a facilitator rather than a performer. Ask for audience input, feedback, and ideas throughout the presentation. Also, have empathy for the audience and forget about yourself. We often assume other people are judging us when they are too busy thinking about their life problems.
Focus on your motivational speech message, not on yourself. Instead of worrying if the audience likes you, focus on how your message will help and support them. Let the audience judge the words, not you
How to Write a Motivational Speech
Open a speech with something that gets people's attention. A startling fact, quote or story will help set people up to listen. Also, consider using interaction right away, so the audience knows this is not a passive learning experience or just another speech.
Next, set out your objective. A speech objective anchors you and your audience to your message. It will help a speaker stay on track with the speech and guide the audience toward your goal.
Once you have developed your speech objective than you will design your content around the objective.
Take the audience on a journey
First, decide on the destination. Tell the audience the result, so they know what they are investing their time in and don’t get lost along the way. Be very clear and specific about your goal.
Also, provide guideposts along the way, so they know when you are switching directions.
Motivational speaker Hugh Culver suggests using the formulae -story, lesson, and application to illustrate a point.
The audience needs you to Segway for them the lesson to take away from the story and application of their lives.
Be Motivational and Inspire Hope
A motivational speech is different from other types of speech. It has to be motivational with the purpose of moving people forward. Thus, you're not just sharing information, you are organizing the message around a goal and using motivational techniques to influence others.
To persuade others, you have to tap into their emotion, not just logic. Ignite passion through story, analogy, humor or interaction.
Story and analogy draw an audience in by describing events that they can relate. A story can elicit emotion like fear, inspiration, sadness, joy and more. The feeling is critical to help the audience tap into the emotive part of their brain. Stories also illustrate points.
Humor and interaction keep an audience awake, focused and engaged. A laugh in the middle of a speech floods the brain with endorphins that wake you up and creates interest. Interacting forces the audience to think about the message and pay attention.
When time allows, you can sprinkle in some fun audience-interactive games or activities. Anytime a group comes together and has fun, it builds rapport, creates memories and decreases stress.
A leader's most magnificent job is to give people hope, and your team needs optimism to lift them up. Thus, leadership should have a goal of providing regular inspirational speeches with the objective of spreading faith in uncertainty. Many people today are overworked and overwhelmed and starved for inspiration. With the pace of change in work today, people just need to feel like what they are doing is not getting lost in the shuffle and that it means something. Connect work activity to the team, organization or greater community good, this is essential to keep people focused and motivated.
Some teams are working to build something that doesn't exist right now. Thus, they have to believe in it and belief requires hope. It's easy to continue doing thing the way you have always done them because you have concrete evidence that it works.
Hope believes that our efforts will contribute to something worthwhile. For instance, you don't say I believe in gravity or coffee because you have proof and experience with it - it already exists. What leaders often overlook is that their team needs hope and to believe in something down that road that doesn't permeate their lives right now. This unknown can be challenging for organizations, and they need confidence that its possible.
Building Your Content
Less is More
Never overwhelm the audience with too much information. People will only retain two or three points anyways, so be clear on what those ideas are.
Trying to dump everything you know about a topic on your audience will cause information overload, and many people will tune you out.
Statistics are not impressive unless you point out why they are essential. Unravel a learning point with several techniques: analogy, interaction, humor, etc
Rhetorical devices like questions (i.e., could we do better?) or repetition and parallelism help build momentum and reinforce ideas. Relying on these devices can make writing a motivational speech a lot easier, and it creates consistency in your speaking style.
How long should you speak?
A motivational speech does not have to be a 60 minute or more. In fact, it is better for leaders to deliver short 5- 10-minute motivational speeches on a more regular basis to reinforce direction and keep momentum high. These short motivational speeches serve a purpose to appreciate and celebrate progress, provide information or to boost morale.
Often a motivational speech is to celebrate an achievement. Thus, highlight what the team has accomplished as a group, recognize specific individual efforts and tie it all back to what the goal is and a vision of where you're headed. Most people don't feel enough appreciation in their work, and lack of recognition is the number one reason people leave their job.
The Audience Doesn’t Know your Speech
Once I finished a speech, got off the stage and suddenly realized I forgot an entire section of my talk. I was mortified but soon realized the audience doesn’t know anything was left out. You can’t miss what you didn’t know about in the first place.
I often see speakers stumble and apologize for messing up, this just wastes time and undermines your confidence. If you just carry on as nothing happened, nobody will know the difference.
Energy & Confidence
Fake it until you make it
Increase your energy and act like you’re incredibly excited about your audience and your message. If you feel nervous, just pretend you’re confident. Act like a confident person, and eventually, you will catch up.
The body doesn’t know the difference between a real and an imagined thought, so if you tell yourself you're scared, or you tell yourself you’re confident, either way, you’re right.
Confidence starts in the brain. If you believe you are uncomfortable or lack certainty, it will show.
Act the part, act as you belong, that you are prepared and confident and others will treat you like you do. Confidence is what gets you in the door, without it you miss out on a lot of opportunities.
Natural is Overrated
I once took a public speaking seminar about being authentic. The main idea was to be yourself. It’s encouraging to know that being who you are naturally is all you need. However, the best motivational speakers I’ve known increase their energy and presence on stage. In a keynote speech delivered to hundreds of people, you have to have enough power to infect everyone. Most people don’t naturally walk around emphasizing specific words or projecting their voice to fill the room
Also, the idea of trying to be natural seems- unnatural.
How to Influence Different Audiences
Knowing your audience is key to public speaking. But what does this mean and why is it so critical?
It means you want to Influence from the perspective of the audience. Usually, your own style of influence only works with people similar to you.
It’s far more difficult dealing with people who don’t think like you. With these audiences, first, you have to find out what really does matter to them. Uncover their magic buttons by listening to them.
When I started as a motivational speaker, I did well with female audiences because we share similar experiences and perspectives. I found it much easier for me to influence this group because we are more alike.
The most difficult groups for me to connect with were blue-collar male audiences. Our perspectives were worlds apart, so I had to figure out what makes them tick. After listening to many of them over the years, I’ve found they are very hands-on, hard-working people. Thus, I stick to concrete hands-on advice, related to their work. They don’t do well with generalities; it has to be connected to their job.
Next, they are usually family oriented, so I evolve key points around family.
Finally, they also like to laugh at themselves, so I engage them with interaction and humor. Thus, small adjustments help create a much stronger connection with an audience.
Always start writing a motivational speech by researching and understanding the audience. I often use a questionnaire and interview audience members before a speech.
Some of the questions that help me understand the audience include: What is important to people in the audience? What do they most need to hear? What are this audience top sources of stress and joy? What is a typical day? What are some buzz words or acronyms that the group use regularly? By knowing the audience, you can relate to them in their language.
How to Overcome Stage Fright
We all have times in our lives when we doubt ourselves. Doubt can quickly come screaming to the surface when you are thrust in the limelight in front of hundreds of people and expected to perform
Fear creates a deep emotional outpour that goes along with physiological changes like sweaty palms, shakiness, increased blood pressure, heart rate and more. None of this lends itself to a focused, dynamic performance.
Circumvent the fear by focusing on your message and the audience -use this to stay in the present moment. Don’t let fear and self-doubt pull you into negative dialogue in your head.
The Motivational Speech Close
People remember the first and the last words that you say. Thus, close your speech with a call to action, it should link to and reinforce your objective. Therefore, you want to end where you began and remind people of what they have learned along the way.