The purpose of a motivational speech is to encourage personal or professional growth in the audience. It is very similar to the inspirational speech (which I will talk about later in this series) but has a slightly different intent.
Both types of presentations are positive and upbeat, but where a motivational speech has the intention of motivating an audience to take a specific type of action, an inspirational speech’s main goal is to create an emotional experience that may or may not lead to a specific action.
How to motivate
I read in my Toastmasters manual that the purpose of motivation is to “cause others to think, believe and act as you want them to, and have them like it.” I love that definition because that part at the end is the key … anyone can use force, authority or other techniques to get people to do what they want them to … but to have them like it at the same time? That takes skill and finesse.
There are some key elements to making a speech motivational:
1. Clearly state your intention.
People can’t behave the way you want them to if they don’t know what you want. Depending on what type of behavior you’re trying to motivate the audience to do, this can be done quickly or may take some explaining. Take the time to make sure that your audience understands what you want them to do.
2. Clearly explain the benefit of the new behavior.
People will eagerly change if they understand the benefits they’ll gain … as well as the pain of staying where they are. Be sure to not only touch on all the counter-arguments they might have to behave in a new way but emphasize the benefits of this new behavior.
3. Create vivid “pictures” in their minds.
The reason why you want to use word pictures in quotes is that not all members of your audience will be visual learners. You’ll need to tell stories in such a way that visual learners can see it in their mind’s eye, audio learners will hear it in their mind’s ear and kinesthetic learners will experience it in their mind’s imagination.
Openings and Closings
As with any speech, how you open and close your speech will make or break it. But with the motivational speech, it is especially important to open with something that captures their attention and imagination and close with something that is so emotionally powerful and dynamic that they can’t help but take the action you suggest.
Resources for developing motivational speeches:
- eHow: How to Write a Motivational Speech
- Motivate Your Writing!: Using Motivational Psychology to Energize Your Writing Life by Stephen P. Kelner, Jr.
- How to Write an Inspirational Speech by Lisa McQuerrey
Did you miss these?
Here are the previous posts in this “Type of Speeches” series:
The next post in this series is The Entertaining Speech.
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