Here are some frequently asked questions and answers on the subject of improving your motivational speaking techniques.
These come from someone with over 30 years’ experience in commerce and industry and with extensive knowledge of motivational speaking and training.
What is the most important aspect of successful motivational speaking?
If you have influenced your audience in your intended direction and persuaded them to change their behaviours or adopt new ones, you will have succeeded.
Feedback of the “very entertaining speech” variety is not, in itself, a measure of success unless it’s accompanied by positive action as a result.
What’s the most important personal characteristic required for success?
There isn’t one but three:
- Conviction – if you clearly don’t 100% believe your message then why should you expect others to? This is closely linked to personal confidence of course.
- Knowledge – conviction alone is useless if your audience perceives (rightly or wrongly) that you don’t really know what you’re talking about.
- Pertinence – you must be speaking on a subject that is relevant to the audience. If it isn’t, you won’t change their behaviours even if they think it was a great and interesting speech.
You can’t separate these three things.
Isn’t technique important?
Yes, very much so. You can learn lots about team building and motivational speaking techniques from experts in the field out there.
However, good technique alone can’t compensate for a lack of the above three things.
Is motivational speaking always effective?
Yes when done properly but there has to be a degree of common sense applied.
One aspect of that is audience intelligence gathering. You need to know that your audience is at least potentially receptive to your message.
To give a crude example, you can address a forum of vegetarians all you like and using the best techniques but you’re not going to motivate them, to any significant degree, to change to a meat-based diet.
To put it another way, don’t expect motivational speaking techniques to overcome a “mission impossible” objective for your dialogue.
Is this technique only applicable at formal sessions?
No, motivational speaking can and should be applied in many casual and informal environments. It’s most certainly not reserved for big speeches and presentations.
For example, it’s an excellent technique for team managers and leaders to master. If you can’t motivate your team constantly by your communications and demonstrated behaviours, then you’re lacking a key skill required for leadership success.
Why have you mentioned personal behaviour examples?
Essentially, your audience (whether formal or workday colleagues) will usually spot immediately that you’re saying one thing and doing another.
This has been known about since the beginning of time and is often summarised by the old saying “practice what you preach“. We can all think of examples from politics where public figures have been arguing that we should all do “XYZ” when events have shown them to be doing something quite different.
So, the join between the positions you adopt with motivational speaking and your own behaviours must be totally seamless if you’re to avoid being seen as a hypocrite.