This section on Tips on Public Speaking: Speaking to Inspire talks about speeches with the primary purpose of inspiring others. Here I’ll talk about the objectives of an inspirational speech as well as some tips to do it well.
One of the best tips on public speaking I can offer to you as a leader is to learn how you can speak to inspire. Being the leader of an organization, you need to constantly inspire and motivate your team to keep working hard and pressing forward towards the its goals.
This will be important especially when you are going through a rough time in your organization.
Maybe the economy is not doing well; maybe some of the top managers just resigned; or a newspaper report comes up with bad publicity. If such is the case, then it is the time for you as a leader to step up to inspire your team again.
Speaking to inspire is both the easiest and toughest speeches to make in public speaking; mainly because it has very little to do with your speaking ability!
In a Toastmaster’s group in my university, I heard that the toughest challenge is for the speakers make an inspirational speech.
I am not surprised; because I know the power to inspire doesn’t come from your speaking ability, but from the depth of your heart.
The questions you ask yourself is: “What values do you stand for? What do you see in the future for your organization? What is its potential?” Just because you are a articulate, well polished public speaker doesn’t mean you can answer these questions.
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What do you want to Achieve?
When you speak to inspire, you want to achieve these two goals.
1. Renew their visions for the organization
Firstly, you want to renew the corporate vision of the organization.
As you share about the potential of the organization, remind each of them of their part in it, and how each of them is crucial in making this happen.
All of us are driven either by the motivation to take more, or to give more.
Without a vision of how the organization can give more to society or make a bigger impact, people turn to the motivation of getting to drive their efforts. In most cases, it will be about how much money they can make.
When you show people what the organization has the potential for, you turn their attentions from themselves and show them what impact they can make in this world.
You lift them up from the prison of self, to show them a community or world they can change.
2. Motivate them to continue moving forward
With a great vision for the future, people are willing to go the extra mile, work extra hard to see something great come to pass.
The mark of a successful inspirational speech is seeing people work hard after and continue to do so.
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Other Tips to Inspire
1. Appeal to Higher Values
When you want to inspire people, you must appeal to the higher values of human beings like love, courage, strength, persistence. These are the things that capture a human heart.
Think about it, the movies that you loved, they weren’t about efficiency or productivity or money; they were the movies that showed you what the human spirit was capable of.
Think about Braveheart and his courage and desire for freedom; think about Kingdom of Heaven and Balian’s courage to stand by his values; think about Lion King and the story of Simba’s redemption.
These were movies that captured your imagination and the imagination of millions.
Similarly, in an inspirational speech, you have to know what values your organization stands for, and bring up those values and why it is important to live by them so that the organization can succeed.
2. Speak from your Heart
The highest form of human communication is heart to heart.
If you want to inspire, you can’t just communicate, you have to connect.
Connections are made when you speak from your heart.
That’s also why you don’t need formal public speaking training to do great in this area, because all you have to do is to share what you personally believe and hope for in the future.
During my time as President of the club University-YMCA; I have always prepared speeches that were from my heart.
It was not a sanitized or politically correct version; it was what I believed, and what I hoped for my team to believe with me.
People always loved my speeches, but the secret wasn’t in the preparation; in fact, I usually don’t spend longer than 1-2 hours writing the script out.
The secret was that I always used my heart to connect.
3. Share an inspirational analogy or story
To make the impact of your speech even more, you should use an inspirational short story or an analogy to illustrate your points better.
If you talk about the need for persistence, perhaps you can read up briefly on the story of Abraham Lincoln or Colonel Sanders of KFC.
If it’s a story of hard work, you can talk about Andrew Carnegie and his philosophy.
There are so many leadership stories you can use to back up your speech, and these stories lend credibility to what you’re saying.
I hope that these tips on public speaking will help you deliver a great speech that can inspire, and that your organization will move up even further with you through it.
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