Isn’t it just mind-numbingly boring to sit and listen to someone you can’t relate to? Staring at that person standing on a stage ranting on and on about something that absolutely does nothing to motivate you? It is at this moment when your audience members start looking around to see if there are other people yawning as well. Then you know that you have lost your audience. Getting them back after that is nearly impossible.
Motivational speaking can be both rewarding and nerve wrecking all at once. Ten years as an international speaker taught me quite a few things from identifying with my audience to how to manage my time. Now, rocking my audience members’ world is second nature to me. According to me there are 5 challenges you need to conquer to captivate your listeners:
- Don’t rely on technology and have a backup. Yes, technology makes our lives much easier and to have visual aids is a bonus, but technology dropped me a few times. Experience taught me to always make sure that you can speak without your slides or even a microphone should anything go wrong. I always have a copy of my presentation on a memory stick just in case that specific laptop has something against me.
- Make it about you. Nobody knows everything. The moment you are going to sound like a ‘Mr-Know-it-all’ you will irritate your audience and they won’t relate to you.
- Have personal anecdotes. Your audience need to know that you are talking, motivating and inspiring out of your own experiences. Talk on a level that they understand and keep it relevant to daily life.
- Entertain while you inform. Don’t be boring. Be trendy and new. Spice up your presentation. Bring in humour, storytelling and anything different and exciting. Be creative with your presentation.
- Don’t overstay your welcome. Time is valuable to almost everyone that is why you were allocated a time limit. Be on time to begin and rather finish a few minutes earlier than going over time.
In a nutshell it boils down to being personal and speaking from experience; entertaining as much as you can while keeping it informative; keeping it practical while connecting with the audience. And last but not least, don’t forget that shorter is always better than too long.
Ultimately the goal is to tell a story that will inspire your audience. A story they will want to share with other people.
*Elmarie Pretorius is an international speaker, trainer and author. She is the Managing Owner of The Mindspa Institute, a soft skills training provider with a national and international footprint. She has facilitated various strategic and training interventions for clients such as Sasol (with whom The Mindspa has an on-going contract) Iemas, Adcock Ingram, Omnia Group, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa, Caxton, Assupol, Premier Foods, Bosphorus Conferences (Turkey), UNISA, Censeo, Sunbake, Aspen Pharmaceuticals, Raubex Group and SAAB Grintech Defense. For more information on Elmarie Pretorius and The Mindspa Institute, visit www.themindspa.co.za or email firstname.lastname@example.org.