One of the most rewarding things as a speaker is to be remembered by your audience long after they have exited the auditorium. Knowing that your speech has inspired your listeners and motivated them to take action is a fair indicator that your talk was a success.
All speakers aim to bring about some change in their listeners while delivering a talk, but not all of them succeed. Audiences may give thundering applause and follow your steps for the time you’re with them, but once you are finished with your speech, they might go back to doing what they think is important.
Hence, it is a crucial task to know the secret ingredients to deliver a speech that really brings about a change in your listeners, even after your talk becomes a distant memory of the past. In case you are wondering, these secret ingredients are nothing but motivation and inspiration.
There are several ways to motivate and inspire your audience. These include telling the audience exactly what you want them to do, backing claims with data, Monroe’s motivated sequence, setting a deadline, following up, being the change, knowing your audience, starting with a story, and appealing to emotions. But before we dive deeper into these solutions, we need to have a crystal clear understanding of some things.
How The Speaker Affects The Mindset of The Listener
“A speech has one job and one job only: to change the minds of the people in front of you, your audience.”Nick Morgan
Words on their own are not enough to change minds. Words when used with certain tools can change minds. Different speakers have their own different ways of influencing the minds of their audience, but here are some common ways that tell us how a speaker manages to affect the mindsets of their audience.
When the speaker provides their audience with information-rich content, they help in making the listeners feel knowledgeable. This helps the audience think that they too can achieve what the speaker believes in because they too have the same information.
Any speaker standing before the audience and attempting to change their minds knows that he/she is the best example of the idea that they are trying to get across. They are the living example of that idea and that makes the audience look up to be more like them.
When people get up and try doing things on their own, they tend to understand as well as remember a concept better. When a speaker urges their audience to participate in group activities, surveys, polls and role-plays, etc. they are subconsciously influencing the mindsets of their listeners through these acts. This helps to get the message across more effectively.
A speaker who doesn’t exhibit their passion for their idea can never expect their speech to ever influence the listeners’ minds. When you value your content and showcase that in your speech, that same passion gets translated into your audience, which in turn helps makes them believe in what you are saying.
If you have to change someone’s mind about taking the covid vaccine, you will certainly make use of statements made by the WHO or a certified medical professional, rather than just attempting to convince that person with your own knowledge. Why? Because these people are experts in that field and this increases their credibility as well as their ability to change minds.
Hence, when speakers demonstrate that they know their stuff and speak about their experiences and research, they are perceived as experts on their topic, and so can influence minds with greater ease.
The Difference Between Motivation and Inspiration
First and foremost, let us look at these two words – motivate and inspire. It is true that they are often used interchangeably. But to tell you the truth, these words mean different things. And knowing this difference will help you to apply the right steps towards realizing your goal of making an impact on the audience.
To motivate someone is to move them in a way that helps them to realize a particular and immediate goal.
An example of this is a sports coach giving a pep talk to his team during halftime. Even if the players are tired and unwilling to give it a chance, the coach, through the usage of speech that is directed towards achieving certain specific goals, motivates them to chargeback and win.
Another example would be that of a teacher who motivates their students to do their homework and be rewarded with extra points on completion and punishment for not doing the given work. Here we see how motivation is about getting people to take instant action, even if they may not necessarily want to do it.
To inspire someone has more to do with influencing or changing the way they think and feel about themselves so that they are willing to take actions on their own.
Inspiration taps into the values and desires that people hold. An example of talks that are aimed at inspiring their audience is valedictorian speeches or commencement speeches. These talks appeal to the aspirations of the young people in the audience by giving them a glimpse of the challenges they might face ahead and how overcoming them will lead to a reward like personal satisfaction.
But of what importance is this whole thing of motivating and inspiring people? In what way does it help people? And how do you ensure this motivation stays on after you’re done speaking?
Worry not, we’ve got you all covered in this article where we provide you with 10 Reasons Why Motivational Speech is Important. Make sure to go through it before reading ahead!
How To Encourage An Audience To Listen To Your Ideas
Before your speech can motivate or inspire people it has to be heard by them. And with the human attention span falling down from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, speakers must really place an emphasis on getting the audience’s attention in the first place.
Here are some ways to do that:
1. Give Them A Reason To Listen
You care about your topic, that’s why you are there to speak on it. Give your listeners a reason to care about it as well. Tell them how this topic will benefit them, and in what ways it can affect their lives. Build a bridge to their island of self-interest by telling them why your idea is worthwhile.
2. Make Things Flow
Your audience will listen to you only for as long as they understand what you are saying. When they are fully engaged with what you are saying, you, as the speaker has succeeded in making things ‘flow’. The way to do this is simple- be simple.
Make it as easy for your audience as possible – make sense of facts and give analogies and metaphors to better understand concepts.
Both Chris Anderson as well as Nick Morgan, experts in the field of communication, have said that the best way to do this is by taking your audience “on a decision-making journey, from Point A(pre-speech) to Point B(post-speech), where Point B is a different state of mind.”
3. Keep Changing
You must’ve noticed that if your teacher switches from writing on a chalkboard to writing on a blackboard, you notice that change – it is something that won’t go unnoticed. This is because change is something that grabs our attention.
Since people’s attention spans keep wavering, they need to be introduced to a variety of things to stay focused on one thing. (as contrasting as that sounds) Ways to do this in your talk are by incorporating visual aids, audience participation, pausing effectively, etc.
Providing the listeners with frequent breaks also helps them to be refreshed and come back with a much better attention span.
Ways to Motivate Your Audience
Now that we have made up your mind to engage in more motivational speaking, let’s take a look at the steps that will help you motivate your audience:
1. Tell Your Listeners The Exact Thing You Want Them To Do
To motivate is to persuade to take immediate action. Hence, it is important to craft your directions well. Avoid being vague and generic by using statements like “do your best’’ or ‘’give it all you got’’.
Instead, be specific and sound urgent by saying something like “I want you to come over on Saturday and discuss this essay with me so that you can hand over the final edit on time.’’
If you are giving a motivational talk, end with telling your listeners what you want them to do and also tell them how they are supposed to do it.
“So I want all of you, to do this one thing every day. At the end of the day, take your journal out and write just three things that you are grateful for on that day. Just three things. That’s all. Do that every single day and I assure you, it will change your life.”
If the steps you’re providing your listeners aren’t clear and easy to follow, it is likely that they will turn towards other alternatives. Keep this in mind while crafting the content for your motivational talk. Provide a clear step for each of the key points in your speech and for the end, emphasize on one overarching step as your call to action.
It is essential to take the time out to list out these steps since you have only one shot to motivate your audience within a given frame of time.
2. Back Your Claims with Data
In today’s world, people rarely take your word for it. “Source: trust me bro” is a common Instagram comment written under fact posts lacking a mention of the source.
This is because, in today’s internet culture, anybody can make a claim regarding anything without giving any proof. In this situation, data is most crucial to build trust and come across as a credible speaker having authority over their audience.
Using facts and figures that support your hypothesis also gives your audience the feeling that they are competent enough and sharing this data helps them to use it for their benefit.
However, keep in mind that presenting data effectively is an art in itself. Make sense of the data that you are sharing instead of just giving out figures that overwhelm your listeners. Check this article that gives you a number of tricks to present data.
Even while aiming to motivate, remember, the simpler the explanation, the easier it is to follow.
3. Motivation à la Monroe
Developed by Alan Monroe, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is a framework to organize persuasive speeches. This method consists of the following steps to create a motivational appeal to your audience:
The first step is to capture the audience’s attention by the use of a hook, like a story, a shocking example, fact or quotation, etc.
Next, you need to show your audience how the topic you are presenting is something that they need. The psychological need is what motivates action.
This step is where you bring in solutions to solve the issue at hand and satisfy your audience’s curiosity.
This step is like a pot twist. Here, you have to ask your listeners to paint a mental picture of a world in which the solution you have presented them with exists and does not exist. Highlight the contrast between the two worlds by including details.
The last step requires you to tell your listeners the action they need to personally undertake to solve the issue at hand.
The reason why this strategy works is that it gives the audience a sense of authority by making them realize what they can do to make a hopeless situation better.
If you are hungry for more information on this effective technique, here’s an article that tells you All You Need To Know About Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.
4. Set A Timer
We all know the wonders of a deadline. Nothing can pull us out of bed and get going the way a deadline can. It is always better to tell your listeners to complete the task at hand within a timeframe rather than expecting them to keep doing it forever.
For example, asking your employees to do overtime every alternate day is definitely better than expecting them to keep doing it for an indefinite period of time. This helps them to schedule their daily activities around the thing you have asked them to do.
One reason why setting a timer helps motivate people is because it provides them with a feeling of having achieved something within a time frame.
According to Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University,
“Publicly committing to meeting a deadline is a powerful motivator because it puts your reputation on the line”.
So try and include some sort of a pledge or vow in your motivational talk that helps your audience commit to the task.
This question has perplexed both romantic couples after their first kiss and business professionals after making a pitch. The answer is simple, follow-up, pronto.
This is essential to keep your audience motivated in the long run. Try to get as much contact information from them as possible and follow up within 48 hours, if not 24.
Delaying your follow-up will cause audience interest to wear off and have them look at the next appealing thing. Engaging with your audience after your event helps to strengthen your relationship with them. Moreover, you can also reach people who didn’t attend your talk by showing them what they missed and encouraging participation the next time.
In case your talk didn’t go well, you still have a chance at making it up by doing one of these things:
- Share photos and videos from your talk on social media
- Send across a survey or a feedback form
- Share a summary of your talk via email (add quotes and visuals to create interest)
- Stay connected by interacting on online platforms
Ways to Inspire Your Audience
If your goal is to not only get your audience to do the job you want them to do but also let your talk facilitate a change within them so that they are filled with a desire to achieve and do that job, then you need to inspire them.
Here are the steps to follow to do that:
6. Be The Change
As overused a statement as this is, we cannot deny the truth it holds. You cannot expect your audience to dirty their hands while you stand on the podium giving them instructions. One of the best defining qualities of a leader, or a motivational speaker is their ability to practice the truth that they preach.
Don’t ask your listeners to do work that you yourself aren’t willing to do. Consider this, if you were the boss of a company, would you tell your employees to work over the weekend while you rewind with a day at the resort. Obviously not.
Be ready to roll up your sleeves because if you want to truly inspire your audience, then your message must reflect in your behavior and your actions.
7. Know Your Audience
You might’ve heard this piece of advice a million times before. But the very fact that you’ve come across it close to a million times is because it is so very true.
Don’t believe us, then take what Michael Michalowicz – author, entrepreneur, and lecturer said about it,
“It’s all about them, not you. Inspiring your audience is all about helping them see their own vision, not yours.”
Simple advice, but so critical when you want to inspire people. The point here is to understand that people don’t really care much about you as much as they care about themselves. (sucks, but erm, it is true) The reason they’re attending your talk is so that they benefit or learn something from it. Even you, dear reader. The reason you are reading this article is cause you want to improve your communication skills. You don’t really care about who wrote this article (chill, it’s okay, we’re glad that you’re still reading)
This, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t share any of your experiences or stories. You can, you must. But share them in a way that benefits your listeners and gives them something to better their life – be it a perspective, an idea, or an activity.
8. Start With A Powerful Story
We all know the impact a powerful story can make. And for most people, stories are the best ways to learn things.
Here’s what stories do – they let people picture things for themselves. They capture their imagination, emotions, and make them hope. Stories make people realize what they’re capable of doing and becoming. In short, stories don’t tell people what to do.
We know, this advice is opposite to what we said about motivating your audience.
But maintaining a perfect balance between telling your audience exactly what they need to do and allowing them the freedom to imagine the things they can do, is key to making an impact that is lasting.
9. Appeal to Emotions and Value systems
To inspire someone, you need to make them feel something.
Let your talk do that – make your listeners cry, make them crack up uncontrollably, poke them in the eye, do anything but ensure that you make them feel something. Tell your audience that they don’t need to make change happen overnight. Instead, merely ask them to behave in a manner that is consistent with the values and ethics they profess.
If you’re wondering how to accomplish emotional appeal, here are some ways:
- Delivering your talk passionately
- Using a story or a metaphor
- Creating an atmosphere
For example, even if PETA uses pictures of animals from as long as 60 years ago, to showcase the violation of animal rights due to animal testing, it has always evoked an emotional response.
Often, we think that public speaking is a platform where letting your emotional side out is deemed as “un-professional’’. But to truly inspire, you need to let your guard down and be your authentic self so that your listeners are inspired to do the same.
Examples Of Great Inspirational Speeches And Why They Work
“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”
This was just one of the many quote-worthy moments from Jim Carrey’s commencement speech at Maharishi University in 2014.
And so we’ve jotted below two of the most inspiring speeches of all time given by two remarkable individuals.
If you truly want to be a speaker who inspires your audience, watch these speeches and do a little analysis yourself (we’ve done some on our part too, but you know what you need, the best) on why you think they have gone down in history.
1. Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
If you do a google search for the most inspiring speech of all time, this one will be there in almost every search result. If you’re wondering why, we recommend you to watch it and you will find your question being answered right away.
One aspect that makes this speech work is because it is so deeply rooted in Steve Job’s own experiences. He could’ve very well given a dry, “live laugh love’’ kind of a speech.
But he didn’t. Instead, he chose to let his guard down and share a glimpse of his most vulnerable and weakest time in life. Jobs highlights how we can emerge victorious through struggle. This was reinforced by the fact that he gave this speech a year after he was diagnosed with cancer.
He had undergone surgery and was okay at that point – and what he learned through that experience was what he shared – understanding that our time here is limited. What are we going to do with it? That is what matters.
Sharing these personal narratives and the lessons he learned from them, connected Jobs with the audience effortlessly.
2. Jim Carrey’s MUM Commencement Address
Nobody really expects one of the world’s funniest men to move an audience and make them ponder over the existence of life.
But that’s what Jim Carry did during his commencement speech. Along with his fair share of humor of course. To describe this speech in a word – would be enlightening.
There were so many different ways why this speech worked. Jim Carrey made use of everything from humor, to analogies, to personal stories, to visual aids – in the form of a huuuuuuuge (yep, a really huge painting) that he painted. But through all these tools, what really shone through each of them was his authenticity. He was being his truest self on stage when he said,
“When I say, life doesn’t happen to you, or happens for you, I really don’t know if that’s true. I am just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way.”
So that’s one thing to always remember – to inspire others, don’t set yourself as the ideal, “I-am sorted and that’s why you should be listening to me’’ kinda person. Instead, showcase your struggles, but also highlight how you overcame them. Be real.
When all is said and done, you need to sit back and trust your audience to actuate the ideas you shared.
Another thing to remember – the above steps to motivate and inspire audiences are just some of the many tools that motivational speakers and professionals use to influence their listeners.
You have the ability to gauge which tools you need to use – the ones to motivate or the ones to inspire. A simple trick to understanding when to use which is this:
- To reach specific, short-term goals – motivate them.
- To shape the way people think, long-term – inspire them.
Like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote,
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
Now that you know the difference between motivation and inspiration, we believe you will understand that at times you need to both “give orders” and also teach men to ‘’yearn for the vast and endless sea’’.
It all depends on the time and the goals you have in mind.
For now, we hope this article has motivated you enough to go inspire others!