We all have aspirations, dreams, desires in life yet everyday tasks can become obstacles in achieving these. Overcoming these obstacles and putting your needs first can be a tough call to action but once a change is made and you begin to see a positive outcome it can all come far more naturally to continue on this path. It only takes one person or situation or even quote, to give you the push you need to take that leap of faith but what do we look for when it comes to someone opening our eyes and inspiring us?
Inspiration comes from positivity
Every time I have heard an inspirational person speak the most noticeable trait they ooze is positivity. You get a general feel for this in the way that they word their speech, the way that they control their presentation and through their body language. By simply changing your outlook on life, by looking at a problem from a different angle and problem solving rather than panicking you too can switch your attitude from negative to positive.
So how can you deliver an inspirational talk effectively?
Ok, so this may not always come naturally to everybody but if you step out onto that stage a jibbering wreck you will never inspire anyone. Nerves can be a tough one to beat but practising your speech, rehearsing how you want to look and sound, preparing the best presentation you can will all help you to get there. You need to have self-belief and as soon as you find this you can project your message to your audience.
This goes hand in hand with confidence. Poor posture, lack of eye contact, shuffling around the stage all screams BORING! Your audience will feel awkward watching you and will inadvertently switch off. Walk out and own your stage. Shoulders back, eye contact with members of your audience, speak loud and clearly, use the stage to walk up and down and reach every person there, use your hands to gesture to reinforce your message. Sounds so simple but when this is put together in a natural way you will look like the most confident person they have ever seen.
Tell a story
A story (as long as it’s a good one!) can draw your audience in and allow them to connect and relate to you. Tell them how you got to where you are today… no brags, please! Perhaps talk about a beloved family member who supported you and put their trust in you. Talk about the highs and lows and how you overcame these. You need to show that success does not come overnight and it does need to be worked for but that they can get there as you did.
During your talk you need to reach out and connect with those who have taken the time to come and listen to you. Point to the audience, ask them for their feedback, ask open questions and even invite some up on stage. They are there to learn, you are there to be heard. Make it a win-win situation.
Include inspirational quotes or poetry
Now what you don’t want to do is step over into cheesy land. Quotes are great but some are just far too cheesy for a professional talk. Find people who inspire you, find quotes or poetry that makes your hair stand on end and hits you hard in the chest. The type that makes you think ‘Yes, I can achieve this today!’ Sometimes the most simple anecdotes can stick with us forever. One of my favourites has to be:
‘Do one thing every day that scares you’
It sounds simple but when you really start to think about what you do each day, how much of it is the monotonous tasks you do each and every week? Is there anything you do that scares you? I don’t mean you have to go out and do a skydive, just signing up to a course you have been putting off for years can scare you but in a good way. In other words, take that leap today!
Take your time
A good inspirational speaker will take their time over their speech. Don’t rush through what you have to say, this will only make it seem less important and your audience won’t be able to keep up with what your message is. Slow down, take pauses, let your words sink in, let the audience think about your last sentence a little more… This will all keep them engaged and eager to hear more.
Leave them wanting more…
Don’t overdo your talk by filling it with far too much information. Give them just enough to savour and leave them wanting to hear and know more from you. This can take quite a bit of planning and practise to fully achieve and you may not be able to deliver this fully in your first inspirational talk but keep going with it because if you want to keep your audience hanging off every word you need to work for this.
End with a thought-provoking statement and then open up the stage for questions and answers. A sure-fire way to allow them to delve further and to come away feeling as though you have spoken directly just to them.