Be a more effective motivational speaker by remembering these 10 “don’ts” of motivational speaking.
1. Don’t use slides in every point you want to make.
You are a speaker, not a professor. There is no need to accommodate every point you want to make with a slide.
2. Don’t go back and forth to your visual presentations unless you need them for elaboration.
In the condition that you know where exactly to look for, you can go back to any previous visual presentation if it will make your point clear. However, doing this to all of your materials will make you repetitive and boring.
3. Don’t hold private conversations.
Some motivational speakers really go down to the audience to make the experience more personal. However, some people in the first row cannot help it, but ask questions. Answering those questions off the microphone will leave the other audience hanging, making them feel unimportant.
4. Don’t point where the audience should look at in your visual presentation.
Laser points are only good for boardroom presentations. Do not use them in seminars or conferences. The screen in front is large enough. The audience can read without you pointing where to start.
5. Don’t use suddenly changing colors and brightness in your presentation.
How would your eyes feel if you are looking at a large screen full of blacks, browns, reds, violets then it suddenly changes into a whole screen of whites and light greens? Won’t they hurt? Now imagine the audience reacting to that.
6. Don’t ask your audience with “Understood?” “Ok?” and “Right?”
There are insensitive motivational speakers who like to end sections of their discussions with a rhetoric question such as the ones mentioned above. Don’t you feel incompetent when somebody habitually tells you these words? It is like implying that you understand things slowly so further verification of your comprehension level is required.
7. Don’t imply that a certain portion of your discussion in not important.
Have you heard other speakers say, “I want to tell you something very briefly” or “I want to show you something just really quick”? Don’t they make you wonder why something that only deserves short attention needs to be inserted in an important discussion? They do not make sense.
Just go and discuss what you have to discuss without saying you will be quick or brief. You have the freedom to complete your presentation.
8. Don’t place your hands in your pockets.
Isn’t it awkward to see someone repeatedly pull his hands from his pockets to make gestures? Even some professional motivational speakers commit this mistake sometimes. True that it is a convenient way to relax your hands if you no longer know what to do with them, but it is the least helpful way. It makes you look unconfident and uncomfortable. Instead of doing this, just relax your hands on both sides.
9. Don’t say something you forget.
Many amateur motivational speakers would imply that they have additional information by saying they will present something that they have previously forgotten. Do you think they look impressive? No. They look disorganized and inefficient. Important matters are meant to be remembered, so the audience would think that the fact that something has been forgotten means it is not important.
If you have really forgotten something important, do something to present it some other time in your discussion without being obvious.
10. Don’t present a long list.
A speaker says, “There are 25 solutions to your problems, and the first one is…” How do you think the audience would react? Most of them are probably planning to go home already.
The audience can only remember a maximum of five items in your speech, so why give them a long list. Even Stephen Covey presents just seven items in his book, and it is a book that everybody can go back to anytime they want. What more for a speech?