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How to Give a Motivational Speech

Learn how to sound like a motivational speaker from media coach TJ Walker in this Howcast public speaking video.


So how do you give an effective motivational speech? Let's step back. What does that really mean? Because in a sense, everybody's a motivational speaker.

Everyone, when they're speaking, is trying to motivate people to do something. Your mother might be trying to motivate you to clean up your room. That's a motivational speech. So it doesn't matter if you're giving a financial presentation, a pitch for new investors, we're all trying to motivate people to do something. The key is, you have to connect with people at an emotional level, and not just a factual level.

Now, what we think of as the typical motivational speaker, the Anthony Robbins style, someone who's talking about big, general issues in life, how to have goals, set goals, reach your goals. The whole key is you've got to have compelling, compelling stories to flesh out the points.

Otherwise, your advice can seem generic. Because let's face it, most motivational speakers all say the same thing. Have goals. Align yourself with people who are hardworking and more successful than you. Work hard. Figure out what other people did to be successful, and duplicate that. Stick to your goals no matter how hard it is. Everyone says the same thing. You're going to sound boring and clichéd, if you just say the same thing in the abstract.

The real power of a motivational speaker is doing it in a way that's so compelling, and so memorable that it really has an impact. The best stories of all are going to be about how you, personally, overcame adversity. What was it you did, and why is that lesson transferable?

But sometimes, you can use other people's examples. Even someone like Anthony Robbins, who has a million motivational stories about his own life, will still tell the story of Sylvester Stallone. And how down and out and poor he was. How he had to sell his own dog to live and survive. All this before he had his breakthrough movie, "Rocky," and all he did to keep control over that.

So even someone with a wealth of personal stories can still tell other people's stories, if you do it effectively. The key is, you need vivid details. You need the setting. You need the emotions. You need the dialog. That's what will make your motivational speech actually succeed by motivating your audience.

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