I found out very early in my professional speaking career that there are two entirely different sets of speaking skills when it comes to motivational speaking and speaking while training. To acquire two sets of speaking skills for motivational speaking verses training communication may seem to be obvious, but I have seen people try to apply the same set of skills to both avenues of speaking. Big mistake! I have actually sat in on speakers who were supposed to deliver hands-on training and found myself, along with the rest of the attendees sitting in on three hour motivational speech. Trust me that did not go over well at all. On the other end of the spectrum, I have witnessed motivational speakers who try to inspire, but utilize so many props, technical gadgets, and power point slides, that you forgot you were supposed to be getting motivated instead of receiving an in-depth teaching and information overload in a 45 minute session.
There are different distinct sets of skills involved in training and motivational speaking. When you are delivering a motivational presentation or a keynote address to an audience, your objective is to be educational in an entertaining fashion. Your style must be delivered in a nice flow filled with signature stories, stories of other peoples’ successes, quotes, jokes, and humor. You must use illustrations that drive your points home to your audience. Typically you will want to avoid the use of a podium and definitely get rid of the notes or keep them to a very bare minimum if you do utilize the podium. When you are in training mode, people are in attendance to learn, not be motivated. If you are a good teacher people will be motivated by virtue of the content they are hearing and by the style in which you present the information. As a trainer it’s not about you shining, it’s about facilitating learning objectives through interaction, activities, and Q and A periods. This is what businesses, associations, and meeting planners expect from their return on investment. If you want to succeed in the speaking business and continue to get paid, give the people what they pay for.
Great speakers know how to interchangeably use these skills when in motivational mode or training mode. You must decide if you are a motivational speaker, a trainer, or in some cases, like myself, both. I am very passionate about delivering motivational speeches, because it allows me to be entertaining while delivering some life-changing information. I also like it because I get paid very well for such a short period of speaking. I also love training aspect of speaking as well. My trainings sessions are highly interactive and I create a fun yet content rich learning environment. My typical training sessions range from half-day to full-day trainings. Believe me when I say that it takes a great deal of skill to be able to hold peoples attention for a full day. When you continue to get paid to continue to come back to facilitate more trainings, that is a good indication that you are doing the right thing. You have to be aware of your speaking style and always work on improving your craft be it motivational speaking or facilitating training sessions. Please do not try to be a motivational speaker for three hours and definitely do not fall into a trainer style when speaking to inspire or motivate others. Keep this council in mind when creating your programs and your presentation delivery should be outstanding.