motivational speaker

Speak to Inspire: Techniques from Motivational Speakers to Reach Your Audience

Also known as inspirational speakers, motivational speakers deliver speeches with the precise goal of motivating and inspiring the audience.

Their job is to lead the audience to look at things from a different perspective. Making use of persuasive speech tactics, they need to reach and engage every person in the audience, while inspiring and educating them.

Five key elements to apply in your next presentation

A motivational speaker delivers speeches that provoke an emotional response in the audience. The listeners feel compelled to act, taking from the speech the strength they need to pursue their goals. Speakers use their ability to read the room and say what the audience needs to hear.

You’ll find in all good motivational speakers five characteristics that are key to their success and also to your own. No matter the type of speech you’re giving, these five elements will make it better.


Passion is a strong emotion and we all can relate to it even if our passion is on a different topic. A passionate speaker can build an almost immediate connection with the audience.

It is easier than you may think for the audience to realize how passionate you are about your topic. Your passion will help to grow their confidence in you and your work.

Be enthusiastic. Show your audience why it is so important or interesting for you. Let your emotions flourish.


The motivational speaker has to be attentive to what is going on around her and adapt. People’s needs are always changing, and you need to fulfill their expectations. Keep up to date with the latest trends and best practices in your area of expertise.

Audiences seek answers. They are there, listening to you with a goal in mind. Give them a clear and easy-to-follow plan to reach their goal. They don’t need tons of information. That will only make the message confused, and most of the knowledge will be lost. They need to know how to do what they want to do. That’s what leads them to be confident and eager to act.


If I don’t trust myself, who will? A motivational speaker has to project confidence. The same applies to you. If you want the audience to listen and follow your ideas, so you need to be, appear and act as a reliable source.

Work on your posture and body language. Look at yourself in a mirror. What does your posture say about you? Your audience can tell if you are about to run away or hide. Keep your back and shoulders straight, talk slowly, and make calm, relaxed movements.


Empathizing is one of the most critical human abilities and the secret for excellent communication. It deepens relationships. Motivational speakers often use it to be able to deliver speeches that empower everyone in the room.

Try to understand who are the people in front of you; put yourself in their shoes, and you’ll build a much more powerful connection with them.

Remember that they do not have the same experience as you do and can look at the same situation in a different way. Always try to look at your topic from different angles and encourage your audience to do the same. This will not only help to focus their attention but also stimulates their problem-solving abilities.

Sense of Humor

Laughing together is one of the easiest ways of connection amongst human beings. Motivational speakers know this and they use it in their favor. The right sense of humor keeps your speech enjoyable and can help you to address difficult topics.

Don’t try to tell jokes, especially in a very formal (or culturally different) environment, to avoid embarrassing moments. Rely on funny anecdotes and stories anyone can relate with. Be very careful not to play with sensitive matters that may offend a member of the audience, or you risk to alienate them.

A treasure hunt

I have a little proposal for you now. Watch the following video or pick a random motivational speech and watch it. Look for the previous elements on them and analyze how they work in that specific case.

Watching how techniques work in practice is one of the best ways to understand and acquire them.

Connecting Emotions

Regardless of your speech or audience, you need the audience to pay attention.

You focus your attention on something that you “like”. This means that, no matter how rational you think you are, your emotions have a great deal to play in your daily decisions. Motivational speakers use that knowledge to reach the audience, and this is the most important lesson you can learn from them.

The best way to reach an audience is through an emotional connection, and that is the basis of any motivational speech. If you can connect with your audience, they will listen to you. More importantly, they will absorb your message.

Triggering an emotional response from the audience is the best way to move them into action.

Cátia is a psychologist who is passionate about helping children develop and train social skills.


4 responses to “Speak to Inspire: Techniques from Motivational Speakers to Reach Your Audience”

  1. Victoria Addington Avatar
    Victoria Addington

    It made sense when you mentioned that the right sense of humor allows motivational speakers to address difficult topics. My friend is looking for a motivational speaker for high schools. I should advise her to choose one with a sense of humor applicable to high schoolers.

  2. Thank you for explaining some of the different skills that a motivational speaker uses. My husband is thinking about hiring a motivational speaker to talk to his company. It seems like all of these techniques together would make for a great experience for everyone.

    1. Cátia Isabel Silva Avatar
      Cátia Isabel Silva

      Olivia, thank you for your comment. We are glad to know that you found our article useful. A motivational talk can be very helpful. We love to hear how it went.

  3. It’s great that you talked about motivational speakers and how they connect and inspire their whole audience! Recently, my sister said she’s organizing a corporate event. My sister wants to hire a motivational speaker, so I think your article could help out. Thanks for the tips on what makes a motivational speaker a total hit for your event!

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