Looking for a way to inspire your listeners in speeches and presentations? You probably won't find the inspiration you're hoping to achieve in the information you'll be delivering. It won't emerge from your delivery skills. And it certainly won't occur because of the fabulous technology you display.
You have to look closer to home than these places.
If your message is a critical one and you want to motivate or inspire, your presentation has to be memorable. It’s as simple and as challenging as that. And that means you have to consider the approach you're taking, and the ways you engage and excite your audience. (To speak more dynamically and avoid the mistake of just delivering information, download my free cheat sheet, "5 Ways to Captivate an Audience.")
Your Listeners Have Already Heard That Presentation
So why do many business executives, salespeople, social service providers, lecturers, and other speakers deliver such uninspiring speeches and presentations? It's because their talks are exactly like all the others in that field. Speakers feel safe taking an already-tried approach rather than staking out new ground.
Unfortunately, the result is a presentation lacking in originality, creativity, and all too often, style. Let's put it this way: If you have something important to say, why allow it to sink without a trace in a sea of uniformity? Instead, start strong with a greeting your audiences will remember. And grab your audience with one of my 12 foolproof ways to open a speech.
For your ideas to stand out, you must stand out. Don’t be afraid to make a splash and to be different! As a start, take a look at the five suggestions below. They're custom-made to stay in your audience's mind and to resonate after you've finished speaking. And here are . Do this often enough or strongly enough, and your listeners will be inspired by what you're saying and the way you say it.
Five Approaches to Memorable and Inspirational Talks
- The Past Isn't Prologue: Think about how this topic has been dealt with in the past. Why did previous speakers handle it that way? What particular advantage or disadvantage did those approaches have? Can you try something different instead?
- Looking with New Eyes: Try “suspending your expertise” in your business or field of knowledge. Imagine that you’re new to all of it, i.e., look at the problem from a neophyte’s point of view. Issues which were too close and familiar for you to see clearly may come sharply into focus for the first time.
- Overcome Inertia: Come up with some interactive exercises for your listeners during your talk. Get them vocally and physically involved, and not just in terms of nonverbal communication. If possible, get them on their feet. To many audience members, this will be a revolutionary concept. So, revolt!
- Passivity Not Allowed: How can you “shake up” your audience’s notion that they can be passive observers? Make it clear that passivity will not be allowed during your presentations! Ask questions, and expect answers.
- Eliminate Obstacles: Consider every obstacle—technological, physical, or emotional—that usually comes between speaker and listeners in this type of talk. A lectern, seating arrangements, and failure to establish common ground are some of the usual suspects. What can you either eliminate or include for the first time?
You certainly won’t want to take all of these approaches in any one presentation; and there are times you may not want to do any of them. But once in a while take a different road. Whatever happens, it should be an interesting journey for all concerned.
Key takeaways from this blog:
- Your content or technology won't inspire listeners as much as your approach.
- If your message is critical, you have to be memorable or it will be lost.
- Most speakers take the safe approach. Be bold and you'll more likely succeed.
- If you look at your field as a neophyte, you may see an interesting way "in."
- Eliminate any obstacles in your way, and get your listeners involved!