Yesterday we talked about what it takes to become a motivational speaker. You could boil it down into two words… Problem Solver. If you can identify people’s problems, give them action steps to take, and show them the results they can get, you have put together a very powerful speech. There is another popular method that World Champions, Ed Tate and Darren LaCroix talked about that may be a good fit for you. It’s a simple three word combination…
Then, Now, How…
If you have a major accomplishment in your life or have overcome a major adversity, this method may provide a good outline for a motivational presentation. The key is CONTRAST. You need to contrast the past with the present and give your listeners a roadmap of how you got from then to now.
We have all heard presentations from people who have climbed Mt. Everest or gone to the North pole. We have heard the miraculous stories of people who have overcome cancer, alcoholism, or drug abuse. In each case the stories are full of setbacks, emotion, and trials and tribulations. There is drama along the way. To make your presentation effective you need to take us along on your journey and let us experience, with all of our senses, the sights, sounds, and feelings that were present. We need to be deep into the story.
To put together the speech you should break it into three parts…
Paint a Picture of the Past: You need to show your listeners where you came from. You need to take them through the emotion and the pain of your situation. You may have been broke, in debt, or very sick. Maybe you were standing at the bottom of a huge mountain that you wanted to climb or at the starting line of a race you wanted to run.
As you prepare your speech, write down the minute details of what you remember. Include vivid pictures of your surroundings, include the sights, sounds, and smells. Ask yourself questions. Was it cold or very hot? Were you alone or with others? Did you feel pain or neglect? If you were broke, or in debt, give us a visual of your empty wallet or the checkbook with the negative balance.
Bring us to the Present: Show us how things are today. If you climbed a mountain or ran a race, take us to the top or to the finish line. Give us the emotion of completion. If you have overcome an addiction or a disease, tell us how if feels to be free of the encompassing problem. If you have found the secret of making money, give your audience a view of your account or a cashed check.
The secret to making your speech effective is to have lots of contrast. Maybe, when you were standing at the bottom of the mountain you felt unsure of yourself. You felt scared and doubts crept into your mind. Take us deep into your emotions. Tell us how reaching the top gave you confidence in your life. Show us the difference of having money versus being in debt. Tell us the joy of being cancer free. Make your contrast black and white. Make it vivid.
Give us the How: Show us how you accomplished the task or overcame the pain. Give us specifics. Take us to the pivot moment, when you made the decision to climb, to race, or to change your life. Give your audience the tools or action steps to change their lives. Remember that your speech is not about you… it’s about your audience. If your story is just about you… it’s just a story. If it includes your audience, it can be a life changing event. And people pay good money for life changing materials.
To make your how effective, offer your listeners books, CDs, DVDs, or a training seminar. Make sure you have a back table full of resources to allow your listeners to experience the joy of success. If you have overcome an addiction or disease, offer help and encouragement. This is also a great place to give back to the community. Offer to raise money for cancer awareness, drug addiction programs, or job training.
A Then, Now and How speech can be very effective. The more contrast you add the greater the impact will be. Nancy Duarte offers a great overview of Contrast in her powerful TED speech, that will help you add contrast like some of the great speakers of our time.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at how to find an audience for your motivational presentation.
Question: What accomplishments or adversities have you had in your life that you could speak about?