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Top 5 Motivational Speaker Strategies That Can Kill a Speech

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Did you know that 70% of people rank public speaking as their biggest fear? It can be nerve-wracking to stand and speak in front of a live audience. However, you might find that (whether you like it or not) your job requires you to do just that.

If you are a manager wanting to motivate your employees, here are five motivational speaker strategies that are sure to work against you:

  1. Reading the speech from a script. Reading from a piece of paper is the perfect way to stop connecting with your audience. If you don’t maintain eye contact, you stop engaging people. You might feel that memorizing the speech by heart is a sure-fire way to get it right; however, this actually puts more pressure on you to summon up the words exactly how you practiced them. Instead, use hand-held cue cards reminding you of the main points you need to cover. Most importantly, pay attention to your audience to gauge their interest. Like any good motivational keynote speaker, with practice, you’ll learn to read the audience’s signals.

  2. Starting with a joke that backfires. Unless you’ve got a killer joke up your sleeve that you're absolutely certain your entire audience will enjoy, avoid starting with a joke. If in doubt, proceed with caution. A bad or inappropriate joke can kill your presentation before it even begins.  Humor is one of the top bonding strategies used by motivational speakers, to instantly connect with the audience and get them on your side. But you’ve got to be careful with it. A good alternative is to use stories. They work well and can often end up being naturally funny.

  3. Apologizing. Have you ever been to a speech where the speaker pleads for sympathy by saying something along the lines of, “I’m not really good at this, so please bear with me?" This approach never works. Just as you want to do well, your audience is rooting for your success. They’ve given up precious time to listen to you, but if you start the speech negatively by suggesting that you’re not prepared or the speech might turn out to be bad, they’ll take your word for it. And you’ll be speaking to deaf ears.

  4. Not making eye contact. You want to make eye contact, but you find it uncomfortable or don’t want to put someone on the spot. So you look over the audiences’ heads or to the wall in front of you. Your body language during a presentation is critical. Not establishing eye contact makes you look like you’re uninterested or even dishonest; people might appear to listen but won’t believe a word you say.   Making eye contact means making a connection with a member of the audience. Move around and try to connect with everyone in the room. This will help you to build trust, keep your listeners engaged, and make them less likely to tune out.

  5. Pretending to be something you're not. An expert event or conference speaker knows that the key to connecting with an audience is to make it seem like you’re one of them. You understand their pain, you identify with their goals, and you know exactly what they want (or need) to hear. Using big words or highly technical language in an attempt to impress the audience and sweep them off their feet just doesn’t work. In fact, it can work against you. Use words and language that you know your audience will relate to and can easily understand.

While all the motivational speakers strategies mentioned above are the perfect recipe for a bad speech, they help you learn from some of the most common mistakes many speakers make. Avoid them, and you'll be well on your way to making your speech a resounding success.

Are you looking for a skilled motivator to serve as keynote speaker for your next conference or seminar? Joel Garfinkle knows all the right strategies to engage and motivate your employees and make your event a success. Call (510) 339-3201 for more information about booking Joel as your motivational speaker.

Do you want to stand out, get noticed, and get ahead? Read my book, Executive Presence, and develop the sixteen character traits that make up the ideal mindset, behaviors, and habits of a successful business leader.