Let’s look at how to utilize these four secrets to Deliver Inspiring Speeches
Offer more energy.
Research has found that emotions and the energy associated with them are contagious. Think of the people you work with. Who brings you energy? Who drains you? Do you drain or offer energy to others? To be inspirational you will need to show your energy. Think of times when you’ve been animated. Maybe you were involved in a favorite sport or hobby. Are you willing to bring that kind of passion to your workplace?
In exercises during Fearless Presentation classes my participants were often surprised to see how attractive they were when they were more enthusiastic. Time after time, participants who were willing to inject more zeal were judged to be more inspiring and charismatic. When the group experimented with exaggerated gestures and vocal projection, participants discovered more of their potential. They realized the gap between their habitual energy levels and their greater capabilities.
But having more energy doesn’t mean that we have to jump around. Vitality can also have impact when it is suppressed, as though we were a tight spring, capable of sudden lively shifts of tone, tempo, and movement. If we think of people who have inspired us, they probably had lots of dynamism. If we want to inspire others, we will need to have find our unique ways of expressing energy .
Use a viewpoint that is future focused and positive.
To be inspiring we need to be positive, build a vision, and be future focused.
If we use a positive frame we don’t ignore bad news but we concentrate on growth through challenges. A manager tried to inspire his team saying, “Our merger may mean that we lose parts of our small team culture, but if we do, be assured we will never lose the mission and values at the core of our business.”
When we build a vision we contribute more than ‘necessary’. This means that we paint a picture using the small details which help our audience visualize and connect to our goal. We are future focused when we build a vision. We can help our audience understand that the current struggles will lead to important gains.
Connect your speech to a higher purpose
In order to deliver inspiring speeches, we need to have a purpose or objective. It is sometimes difficult to think of a larger purpose that can galvanize others. One useful tool is a set of questions which can help us uncover our purpose. These questions can also give us more specific details to use in our message.
The questions are:
- What are my personal reasons for wanting to take this action?
- If I succeed, who will benefit and how?
- What higher purpose could this contribute to?
Purpose or the bigger picture can be used to make emotional connections with an audience. When combined with the other tactics – language, positive framing and enthusiasm, the impact can be great.
Choose powerful words
In addition to these other elements, our word choice is very important. We want to avoid generic or cliché phrases and use words that are decisive, engaging, and unexpected. (JFK: “We will have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.”)
To be decisive means that we aren’t half-hearted but are full of conviction. We avoid hedging words like “perhaps, maybe, I guess…” To be unexpected we can offer more candor than our audience expects. A managing director who starts a presentation with ‘I am distraught to be here today’ gets our attention.
Finally, we must never forget the power of stories. Steve Jobs is famous for his use of stories to inspire. When speaking to the graduating class of Stanford University Jobs didn’t make generic statements like “seize the day.” Instead he described the day he received a cancer diagnosis and his choices after that. After his story Jobs used decisive, unexpected, and strong word choices to deliver his message.
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
We don’t need to be famous to be inspiring. We can all use our energy, strong word choices and positive framing to help others tap into their own greatness. To continue to inspire we must remember to walk our talk. If we do, we won’t lose credibility and we’ll be able to use these tips to inspire our vendors, our boss, and our teams every day.
So if you want to deliver inspiring speeches at work, offer more energy, use a viewpoint that is future focused and positive, connect to a higher purpose, and choose powerful words.