Top 7 mistakes amateur motivational speakers make
Motivational speakers are gifted at using words to paint incredible pictures of the possibilities of the future and make you want to act. The best motivational speakers will bring you out of slumber, make you want to aspire to climb Mount Everest and dig tunnels to overcome gigantic obstacles. Such is the power of motivational speaking that the best organizations would move mountains to get the best of the best to present their retreats, annual conferences, and convention events. And the best motivational speakers don’t come cheap. The top one percent is paid up to $ 20,000 per 90-minute contract, all expenses paid, including limousine, first-class airfare, and five-star hotel suite services.
Such is the appeal of motivational speech that every coach, teacher, comedian, consultant, and coach today includes motivational speech as their forte. There’s nothing wrong with someone aspiring to become a motivational speaker, but don’t let the top seven mistakes trip you up. With all the wars, suicide bombings, kidnappings, and other atrocities ravaging our world, we need motivational speakers in abundance. This article sign posts the key mistakes to be aware of and also serves as a guide for anyone aspiring to jump into the band wagon of motivational speakers that they can use to navigate to safe havens. The errors are in no particular order and, as in any field, clearly overlap, but together they form a powerful yardstick for measuring your progress toward mastering your game. Here we go:
1. Following the formula of a guru
Peter Drucker once said that the word charlatan was too difficult to pronounce and that’s why someone invented the word guru. You have gurus in all spheres of human endeavor, they come in various shapes and sizes. Next to the spiritual world there is no other sphere of human life where you will find more gurus than in the world of training, but be careful. The guru’s world may be different from your world, so don’t just accept what you’ve heard the guru say: hook, nail, and plumb line. Remove the grain from the chaff. Understand the context of the guru’s “must do” before you open your mouth.
2. Not being authentic
Every actor wants to be like Roger Moore, every footballer wants to be like Pelé, every boxer wants to be like Muhammad Ali, and of course every motivational speaker wants to be like Orson Swett Marden, Zig Ziglar and Og Mandino in one. We admire these legends, in fact, we adore them. But keep in mind that you are not one of those icons. The only reason someone will come to hear you speak is because of your uniqueness. Trying to mimic platform gestures, voice, and whatever else others do will only dilute your authenticity. Be yourself unapologetically and the whole world will make their way to hear you speak.
3. Using jokes that are not appropriate for your audience
While the mantra in real estate investing is location, location, location, in motivational speech, the only mantra is audience, audience, audience! Consequently, your jokes, if you need to use them as part of your repertoire, must be specific to the audience. And make no mistake in thinking that audience laughter is a key attribute of a good speech. How many people laughed when Martin Luther King Jr., the greatest motivational speaker of all time, delivered his “I have a dream” speech? Motivational speaking is about moving your audience from a state of despair to a state of euphoria, so be careful with jokes. Trying to be funny when not necessary and using irrelevant jokes is the hallmark of the hobbyist.
4. Use the same speech for different audiences
This is one of the trickiest aspects of motivational speech: matching the speech with the audience. Point three above on how to match the jokes with the audience is only a small part of this big problem. While your message to different audiences may be the same, your speech needs to be delivered differently. If you want to achieve the desired impact, you cannot deliver the same speech in the same way to nurses and soldiers, for example, about the need to be human while on duty. While the human being is central to the vocation of nurses, for the soldier, the only thing that matters is courage, so your speech should be written accordingly, with careful variation of what to emphasize and where to emphasize.
5. Act and not speak
I recently experienced this first-hand at a very high-level conference. If the offender had been an upcoming speaker, he wouldn’t have paid much attention, but the culprit was an industry veteran. He spent most of the time rolling on the ground to emphasize a point. When speaking, you must use the power of words to persuade, motivate, and inspire. Whether you’re talking about, for example, color, scent, landscape, you must use words to capture vibrancy, pungency, and atmosphere, while using body language to carry the message home. Rolling on the floor, crying, and boxing with your audience members may make you feel good, but it will certainly leave your audience members sad about wasting their time. In motivational speech, you have only one tool: your voice, to get the job done. Body language is the icing on the cake.
6. Dress casually
The message you convey to the audience when you dress poorly is simply that you shouldn’t be taken seriously. In some cultures, dressing sloppily is considered an insult to the audience. While your voice is the main tool you need as a motivational speaker, the most important secondary tool you need is your sense of dress. Your sense of dress is part of your body language and sets the tone for mesmerizing and magnetizing your audience. While you should match your sense of dress with the audience, a good rule of thumb is to dress in a better or more formal tone than the audience. In short, never let your guard down, dress appropriately. Err on the side of flawless sartorial at all times, as you’ll never get a second chance to create a great impression.
7. Not preparing well
I deliberately saved this point for last. Logically, it should be point number one. The best motivational speakers prepare for each task as if their life depended on the task at hand. From researching the audience, venue, previous speakers on the topic, and microphone, they leave nothing to chance. Darren Hardy, the editor and publisher of Success Magazine, once commented that most audience members don’t understand why motivational speakers are paid up to $ 10,000 for an hour of speaking. He then went on to say, “that hour-long speech may have taken three or six months to prepare.” As with any serious line of business, preparation is the key to success. As Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and many other iconic bestsellers, pointed out, it takes 10,000 man-hours (roughly 10 years) of preparation to reach the tipping point. Having gotten there, he cannot rest on his laurels but must continue to perfect his act. Prepare thoroughly before mounting the platform.
Having read to the end, I want you to renumber these points in reverse order, with number seven being number one and number one being number seven, in that order. If you guard against these mistakes and continue to perfect your style, dress sense, elocution, diction, platform manners, and elevate your preparation to catechism status, it will be a matter of time before you move to the top ranks with delicious fees like some of the greatest speakers of old.