How to Start a Motivational Speech: 5 Strategies for Capturing Your Audience
Imagine standing on stage in a room filled with people in your target audience. You have been booked to give a motivational speech. How are you going to start? You have to capture the attention of your audience before you can motivate anyone. Each type of audience requires a different attention-grabbing tactic. The best motivational speakers are masters at knowing their audience and adapting their speeches accordingly. Master the following five strategies for how to start a motivational speech and you will leave your next audience feeling energized and inspired.
1 – Ask a Question to Make the Audience Feel Like Part of a Conversation
A dry, one-way lecture is the fastest way to lose your audience. Starting your motivational speech with a question is a simple way to make your audience feel like it is a two-way conversation. Your question should act as a lead-in to the core topic of your speech.
If your speech is on how to stay motivated when their business is struggling, then your question could be something like “By a show of hands, how many of you have ever felt like you just wanted a give up and close the business down?”
2 – Engage Your Audience With an Activity
Your audience is much more likely to pay attention to you if you can get them moving. The key to successfully using an activity to start a motivational speech is to pay attention to detail. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How many people are expected?
- What are the demographics of attendees?
- How much time do you have?
These seemingly insignificant details are the difference between a hit activity and a flop.
Just like asking a question, you want your activity to be a lead-in for the content of your speech. The best activities include a physical element. Say your topic is the relationship between your mood and your motivation to improve your business. You could start your motivational speech with a breathing exercise for calming one’s mind or a quick smiling exercise.
3 – Tell a Story to Make Your Motivational Speech More Relatable
We are instinctually wired to learn through storytelling, dating back to our days as cavepeople. There are a few different types of stories you could tell to start your motivational speech – each with a different effect.
- Historical Stories
You can use a story from history that relates to the subject matter of your speech. This story could be based on a popular fable or a factual historical event. The benefit of a historical story is it is easy to find a story that fits with your topic perfectly. The downside is they are not as personal as your other options. Your audience may relate to the story, but do they relate to you?
- Professional Stories
As a successful CEO you have a bunch of professional stories you can use to inspire your audience. These stories are especially effective when trying to motivate employees or speaking in front of industry colleagues.
The key to using professional stories is to make sure they fit the context of the speech topic. If you are speaking to fellow CEOs, tell a story about overcoming a problem a fellow CEO would face. If you were speaking to aspiring business owners, tell a story from when you first started your business.
- Personal Stories
It takes courage to be vulnerable and tell a story from your personal life, but it is one of the most powerful tools for connecting with your audience. You have to prove you have motivated yourself in your darkest times if you want to motivate your audience to do the same.
Again, context is key. A personal story is only powerful if you can use it to segue into your main topic.
4 – Quote a Scientific Study to Give Your Motivational Speech Authority
A scientific study gives your motivational speech instant authority. A piece of interesting research related to your topic signals to your audience that you are not just going to pull information out of thin air.
You can even start your motivational speech with research on motivation. This article here from Business Insider is a good place to start. It has 42 different studies on motivation for you to choose from complete with visual aids.
5 – Tell Your Audience Something They Were Not Expecting to Hear
So many motivational speeches start the same way. The speaker will ask the audience how they are doing, and then they will give an overview of the main point of their speech. It is ineffective because it is what your audience expects.
If you cannot think of a good way to use the other four ways to start a motivational speech, just say anything besides what they expect. Do not be afraid to be different – the more you let your personality shine through in your introduction, the more likely your audience is to actually be motivated by your words.
How to Start a Motivational Speech: Final Thoughts
Now that you are armed with the firepower and secrets for instantly capturing your audience, don’t forget that the real challenge is how to keep their attention throughout your time on stage!
Capture their attention and inspire them to do things they never thought possible without using anything but your words. That is the true superpower you can have if you learn the secrets to inspiring others to take action.
Knowing how to start a motivational speech is just the first step towards being an effective motivational speaker. Stay tuned to the Titanium Success blog to learn how to select a good topic for your speech and how to conclude your speech so your audience remembers you.
As a business coach and CEO advisor, one of the things I help my clients with is establishing themselves as experts in their industries. I teach you how to use educational content to build trust and generate opportunities to speak within your industry. Schedule a consultation with me if you want an advisor to help you become a magnetic speaker.
Watch the video below if you want to learn more about what I do as a CEO advisor. If you have any questions about how to start a motivational speech, leave them in the comments. I will answer as soon as I can.