At one point or another, it's likely you'll have to give a speech. It may be for business, or it may be for school. But you don't want to give just any speech. You want to give a speech that your listeners will remember—a speech that motivates them to take action. In other words, you need to know how to make a speech memorable.
Motivational speaking is a good skill to have. It can help in both your professional and personal life. Most importantly, the ability to give a good inspirational speech enables you to influence others to make positive changes.
In this tutorial, we explain how to prepare a motivational speech. We'll discuss what makes a good motivational speech. You'll learn how to write inspirational speeches. We'll also explore some of the tools you can use to make your speech more effective. And finally, we'll provide tips on how to give a motivational speech.
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Read on to learn how to make a memorable speech that inspires others.
1. How to Plan a Motivational Business Speech
You can't just jump right into writing your speech. A great motivational speech takes planning. Here are the planning steps you need to understand:
Step 1. Know Your Audience
If you really want your speech to motivate your listeners, you need to understand who your listeners are. People respond differently to messages based on their interests and background.
Also, understanding your audience is how you find out what they're interested in so that you can appeal to those interests. It's that appeal directly to your listener's interests that will motivate them.
If you're a student, you likely have a head start in this area. It's likely that your listeners will be other students in your class. You may even know some of them personally. But you still have some work to do in this area. Learn what you can about the makeup of your class. Here are some questions to research:
- Are most students full-time or part-time?
- What's the age range of the students in the class?
- Have they been at the school long?
- What are most of the students in the class majoring in?
- What are their interests?
If you're giving a business speech, you may not know your audience members personally. But you can still do some research to find out a little bit about them.
Depending on whether your business markets to consumers or to other businesses, it's likely your audience will be made up of either consumers (the public) or representatives of businesses. Either way, here are some questions to research:
- If audience members represent businesses, what's their job function?
- If your listeners represent companies, what's the size and industry of those companies?
- What are their concerns?
- What's the age range of the audience members?
- Are the audience members current clients, prospective clients, or a mix?
If you'll be giving your business speech at a public venue such as a conference, ask the conference organizers to provide you with demographic information about the conference attendees. If you'll be giving your speech at a private location, say a client's office, learn what you can about the company before you go.
Regardless of whether your audience is students, consumers, or businesses--be sure to take into consideration any cultural differences.
Step 2. Know Your Subject
You may think that you know your topic already, but a general knowledge of your subject matter isn't good enough if you want to write a memorable speech. Look for the aspects of the subject that affect your audience directly. When you can, give specific details rather than generalizations.
For example, say "75% of our clients save money in the first year" instead of "most of our clients save money."
Don't forget to anticipate questions or concerns your listeners might have. Research and find the answers. Plan to address the most common concerns during your speech, but remember the other questions in case you're asked about them afterward.
It also helps to have charts and graphs to illustrate and support your information. (More on this later...)
Step 3. Have a Vision
Know what you want your audience to do after hearing your motivational speech and plan your speech accordingly. Your entire speech should be focused on moving your audience in the direction you want them to take.
Explain why the subject of your speech is important to your audience. Describe how the next steps they take can make a difference. But be sincere. Remember, your audience won't care about your topic (or take action) unless you care. And they'll be able to tell if you care. You can't motivate an audience to care about a topic you don't care about.
Towards the end of your speech, ask your listeners to take the next step. Again, be specific. If you want your audience to perform a particular task, tell them what that action is and explain how to do it. If you want them to make a purchase, provide the information (such as a URL, phone number, or location) that allows them to do make that purchase.
2. How to Write an Inspirational Speech
Now that you've done some planning, you're ready to start writing your motivational speech. Here's how to write it:
Step 1. Use an Outline
An outline helps you stay organized as you write your motivational speech. Your outline should have a beginning, middle, and end.
Start by writing the introduction and conclusion to your speech. Many speechwriters find this easiest to do during the outline step. The introduction is especially important because you need to capture and hold the audience's attention in it.
Here's a good tutorial on how to create a powerful introduction and strong conclusion for your speech:
- How to Start a Presentation Strong and End Powerfully (Make an Impact in 2021)Julia Melymbrose27 May 2021
Once you've written the introduction and conclusion of your motivational speech, you're ready to add the main points (or middle) to your outline.
Step 2. Stay Focused
In the main points of your speech, explain why the topic is important to your audience. Here are some common ways to show that your subject matter is important:
- Appeal to the audience's emotions or sense of justice.
- Show how different things can be.
- Explain how one (or more) of the listeners' problems can be solved.
As you add the main points to your outline, limit the number of points you plan to cover to three points (or four, at most). Too many points will cause your presentation to drag out and may even confuse your listener.
As you're narrowing points down, try ranking the points in importance from most important to least important. Keep your vision in mind during this ranking. Rank those points that relate to your vision or purpose for the speech higher. The other points should be ranked lower.
If you've got more than four main points on your outline draft, remove the lowest ranked points and focus on the higher, more relevant points.
Step 3. Be Conversational
When your outline is complete, you're ready to write your speech.
As you write your speech, adopt a conversational tone. Address your listeners directly. Show how each point relates to your audience members.
To be perceived as friendlier, avoid formal language and use short sentences. The goal is to write your speech so that it flows naturally and is easily understood.
Ideally, your speech should sound like you're talking to a friend. Avoid obscure phrases, legalese, and other speech patterns that are difficult to follow. If you'll be giving the speech in a language that's not native for you, you may need to enlist a native speaker to help you with this.
Step 4. Tell an Inspirational Story
Some of the most inspiring speeches include inspirational stories. Stories can illustrate your vision for your audience in a concrete way.
But be real. Audiences can spot a phony story. Positive case studies and inspirational examples can be quite motivational. So, it's a good idea to include these if you've got them.
If you can get quotes that support your speech's points, use them too. Audiences love to hear the experiences of real people. Even better, record and play short videos (a minute or two) where customers or others share their experiences.
3. How to Make a Speech Memorable With Templates & Images
Now that you've written a memorable speech, it's time to pull the entire presentation together. You'll do this by bringing your motivational speech into a presentation tool and incorporating graphics and other media. Follow these steps:
Step 1. Choose a Presentation Tool
The presentation tool you use to give your presentation is important. Some tools are easier to use than others. And not all presentation tools are available in all venues. Make sure that the venue where you'll give your motivational speech supports the presentation tool you intend to use. If you're not sure, ask.
If you're required to use a particular presentation tool--for example, if you're a student--then the decision of what tool to use is easy. But if you can use any presentation tool you like, you may be wondering which one to choose. There are many choices available. This article compares three of the most popular presentation tools:
- PowerPoint vs. Keynote vs. Google Slides: What Is the Best Presentation Software?Laura Spencer01 Mar 2019
- The 15 Best Free Online Web Presentation Software Tools for 2020Laura Spencer26 Jun 2020
Step 2. Use Templates
Once you've chosen your presentation tool, it's time to start thinking about how your presentation will look. You want it to be eye-catching, but professional. A sloppy, unprofessional design distracts from your message. Avoid the following:
- using too many different fonts
- putting too much on a single slide
- clashing color schemes
Of course, you could design your own presentation template for your motivational speech. But that could take hours--especially if you're not a professional designer.
A better plan is to use pre-designed professional template such as those available through Envato Elements or GraphicRiver. With a pre-designed template, you'll get the use of template designed by a professional designer that can be customized for your specific needs. To get an idea of what types of templates are available, look at this article:
Step 3. Choose the Right Images
A good presentation should also include photos, charts, and graphs to support the points being made. Powerful images can evoke emotion and capture your listeners' imaginations. They can play a large role in an effective motivational speech.
However, the images you use in your presentation must be professional to be effective. Sloppy graphs or poorly focused images make a bad impression and take away from your effectiveness. Make sure that any images you add to your presentation are of high quality.
4. How to Prepare to Give Your Motivational Speech
Once you've finished putting your speech into your presentation tool, you may think you're ready to give it. You're not. Follow these steps to make final preparations to give your motivational speech:
Step 1. Review and Revise
Whether you're a student or representing a business, mistakes in your inspirational speech make you look bad. Review your presentation carefully to ensure that there are no errors in it. Here are some common mistakes speakers make:
- design mistakes like cutting a graphic off the edge of a page or words that flow off the edge of a slide
- factual errors, such as misattributing a quote or typos that make statistics incorrect
- spelling and grammar errors and other typos
After a careful review, fix any mistakes that you find before giving your inspirational speech.
Step 2. Practice
Once you're sure that your presentation slides are error free, it's time for you to practice giving your speech. The more you practice, the more comfortable with it you'll be.
Practice is also important, because it can help you judge how long your presentation will be. Practice can also help you get the pacing right. After you've practiced your speech several times, you may decide to make a few minor adjustments to your inspirational speech so that it's easier for you to give.
Learn how to avoid some common presentation mistakes and discover other presentation tips in these tutorials:
- 15 Bad Business Presentation Mistakes (And How to Avoid Poor Results)Brad Smith10 May 2019
- How to Give a Good Presentation—Without Anxiety or Being NervousJulia Melymbrose29 May 2019
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You've just learned how to prepare a motivational speech. Your speeches should now be more memorable and more effective at reaching your listeners. Now that you've learned how to inspire your listeners, you're ready to give your motivational speech. Good luck!
Editorial Note: This content was originally published in 2018. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.