Wednesday, April 25, 2012
How to be a Motivational Speaker
This article was published in The HINDU Opportunitities section on April, 25, 2012 Link to the online published article http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-opportunities/article3350827.ece How to be a motivational speaker A motivational speaker is one who makes a speech that leaves his or her audience inspired and charged. Motivational speakers are most often heard at corporate events, business meetings, seminars and at school and college events. They are usually asked to convey the company's strategy or the academic institution's mission to the gathered group so that the audience is charged with a positive spirit and are motivated to do more and better. A motivational speaker is the medium through which an idea or a vision is conveyed and the audience takes away the idea and the tools that are taught to them to implement the same in their professional and personal lives. Powerful motivational speakers convey a strong message and use real life examples to make their speech outstanding and inspirational. “Examples are the best tool available to convince others of your ideas. They are also interesting to hear and read”, says Avinash Narula, a leading motivational speaker and management guru. Here are some steps to help you become an inspiring motivational speaker. Connect with your audience The first and foremost step that a motivational speaker needs to understand is how he or she connects with their audience. While communicating, the idea or vision is significant, even more crucial is ensuring that a connection between the speaker and the listeners is established. And this is possible when the motivational speaker truly understands the audience he or she is speaking to. The content of the message then becomes tailored to suit the audience. Narrate a convincing story The fundamental difference between a regular speaker and a motivational speaker is in the manner in which they convey an idea, thought, vision or a message and the tools they use to illustrate their message. Narration of real-life examples, including references to events that have occurred in the lives of popular personalities that the audience can relate to, make it easier for the message to be received well. Good public speaking skills along with the ability to narrate a story with confidence and conviction will leave a long lasting memory in the minds of the audience. Use your props and tools effectively Make sure that you prepare your speech and presentation well ahead of time. Be creative and include appropriate tools to make your speech invigorating and educational. If you have hand-outs for the audience to take with them, be sure to make sufficient copies in advance. Be as visual as possible in communicating your ideas and use flip-charts and other drawing tools, as needed. Ask for feedback A good motivational speaker is one who solicits feedback from the audience and is open to receiving both constructive feedback and negative criticism. This can be done when you have a pre-created form that the audience can complete at the end of the session or just have them drop a line in a suggestion box on their way out. After you've gathered all the feedback, review each comment to know what went well and what could have been better in your speech. Incorporate the suggestions in your next session and gradually you will improve. Perfect your professional portfolio When you are starting out as a motivational speaker, make sure that you have a professional profile and are an expert in your chosen area/topic. Promote yourself by volunteering to speak at your child's school or college event, at the local rotary club or at some company's event. Be prepared to network as much as possible to get additional clients. Based on the performances of your initial speaking engagements, word-of-mouth publicity will land you further assignments. Prepare a written contract for clients with details on your fees, venue of the speaking engagement, other billable expenses etc. Successful motivational speakers are usually in great demand and are often paid good money for assignments and also booked well in advance. Keep your calendar up to date and organise yourself efficiently to keep up your commitments. Motivational speakers are often born with an innate gift to talk and do it with a passion that leaves the listeners with positive energy and the feeling that they can accomplish their goals. They can inspire and engage their audience by making good eye contact, keeping a confident posture and speaking about what they truly believe in. After all, we all need a dose of motivational speeches from time to time to break free from the monotony in our lives and find the inspiration to make our lives more meaningful.