I recently had the chance to attend a motivational keynote given by a woman with a very inspiring story. Her storytelling skills and content message were excellent. The audience was pin-drop silent as she commanded the stage.
As a talent developer, I am always pleased for a presenter’s success, but also try to learn from them. I pay attention to the things that work for me as an audience member and the things that don’t. Sometimes the don'ts leave more of an impression, so let's start with a few that were reinforced during my recent experience.
Don’t advance to text-heavy slides that differ from what you are discussing. As an audience member, I immediately begin to read the slide and miss your message. It is a distraction from the story and disrupts the emotional buildup. The text can confuse your learner – “Is this more important than what she is saying?”
Do tell your story with an image or one key word on the slide. If you want to share longer text, such as a quote, either show the slide and read it aloud immediately or pause and let the audience read it silently. Simplify so that your message is strong and inspirational!
Don't stand behind the podium the whole time. A podium acts as a physical and psychological barrier between you and your audience. Don't pace back and forth across the stage.
Do move purposefully. Choreograph your movements so that your audience is pulled into your talk. Think about when to move toward them, when to stand very still, when to use large gestures or when to change position. Your position and movement on stage can greatly enhance your message.
Don't forget to call your audience to action. Inspirational stories are meant to motivate. But some audiences need to hear a specific suggestion or call to action in order to change their behavior.
Do offer simple ideas for how your audience members can support your cause. Make it clear that we don't all have to be the superhero that you are, but instead can make a difference by taking small, easy steps.
What are your don'ts and dos for motivational presentations? Please share so that we can all become more inspiring!
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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