How to Give an Inspiring Motivational Speech to Your Team

One of the major responsibilities of a project manager is to motivate the teams to achieve their goals. Though there are plenty of techniques you may use for increasing team motivation, an inspirational speech is the one that can have an immediate effect. That’s why it is a really powerful instrument. Despite the fact that I`m not an experienced motivational speaker, I`m very interested in the question of what makes a great motivational speech. So I decided to learn the subject and share my thoughts with you.

When it is time for a motivational speech

Let’s start with the point of how you can understand that it’s time to take action to motivate your team. From my point of view, there are three general cases when a motivational speech makes sense:

  1. The team has just achieved a significant milestone.
    In this case, the purpose of a motivational speech is to express gratitude to the team and show them that their effort and contribution are valued. Everyone wants to do meaningful work and to get an appreciation for this work.

  2. The team is working hard towards project goals, but they are stressed out and overloaded. 
    In this situation, you should show the team that you appreciate the contribution they`ve already made to the project. Besides this, you also should draw a picture of the bright future and explain the reason why you are working hard on achieving the goal and what benefits both the team (or organization) and each separate team member will have in the case of a successful outcome.
  3. The team is working hard towards project goals, but they are stressed out and overloaded.
    At this point, your team may be bored and tired, they may not see any meaning in their work. The purpose of your speech in these conditions is to highlight what value your team’s work brings to other people and to the community. Tell them that any great success and any big deal are dependent on little routine things and are impossible without them.

How to give a great motivational speech

Prepare your speech 

I personally believe that any speech must be prepared, which is particularly true in the case of a motivational speech. First of all, when you give a motivational speech you should sound confident and inspiring, which is impossible if you are not prepared. If you’re mumbling and choosing words during the speech, these will definitely reduce its effectiveness.

Also, before giving a motivational speech you should think of how to make it successful and achieve your goal. It makes sense to take into account your audience needs: which style they prefer, what they want to hear, what questions may come up in their heads during your speech (maybe it is a good idea to include the answers to these potential questions to your speech). I would recommend you even try some rehearsals of your speech beforehand. However, don’t overdo it, otherwise, your speech may look unnatural. 

Be sincere

A motivational speech is an instrument for “selling” ideas to your teammates. In most cases, you`re conveying the idea of why your team should keep going towards the goal. One may think that being absolutely sincere is not possible in such a situation. However, that`s not exactly true. Being sincere means telling what you feel and not distorting the facts. Maybe, you want not to mention some facts or not to focus on something, but you must never lie. When you`re telling a lie, your body language or your voice tone may betray you. Also, your lie may become obvious later. In both cases, your motivational speech will be devalued.

Use a casual language, not an oratory style

When you`re giving a motivational speech don`t forget that you`re neither a speaker at a conference nor a lecturer at university.  You come to your fellow team members with the goal to inspire and energize them. If you use a pretentious language never used by you before, nobody will believe you. Your speech will sound artificial and flimsy. The people must perceive you as an integral part of the team and a casual language is key to this.

Emphasize key points

As I`ve mentioned above, the purpose of your speech is to convey a key idea (or ideas) to your teammates. In order to achieve this, you may use a number of techniques like such as a ‘sandwich’ technique, when you`re ‘wrapping’ the major message that you want to deliver into some less important, but more pleasant messages. Also, it is very helpful to emphasize the key idea of your message with the help of appropriate intonation and timely pauses. 

Keep your speech short

At the age of prospering information technology, it is very difficult to maintain focus on a certain subject. Thus, it is a challenge to keep the attention of the group for a long period of time when you`re giving a speech. If you make your speech too long, the people you`re targeting may either miss the main point or forget what you`ve said at the beginning of your speech. So, try to make your motivational speech short. A couple of minutes are completely enough in most cases.

Finish with call-to-action

Call-to-action is the most powerful technique of marketing people, but not only them. It is also a helpful instrument for a project manager. If call-to-action is missed, your motivational speech is useless, no matter how good it is. The purpose of your speech is to inspire people for some action, mostly for keeping work towards the expected result. I believe that even such simple phrases as “Keep it up!” or “Let’s do it!” may work well.

That’s all that I have known (and thought) about a motivational speech so far. Maybe you have a good experience of motivating your team with inspiring speeches. If so, please, share your experience in the comments section.

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