The most important way to get your message across is to make sure your audience is entertained. If they are not hanging on your every word then minds will wander and you might as well be delivering your address in the bathroom.
Motivational speakers are the experts at maintaining interest from the crowd, and here are some of the ways they do it:
1. Bring your story to life
Make sure you add colour at every opportunity and help your audience picture the story you are telling them. Description is key. If you are remembering a friend, drop in a line about their greatest quality. If it is a place you want them to visualise then describe it. Just as the best novels are the ones where you feel you are part of the action, the best talks use the same tricks.
Tip: Be animated with your delivery as if you are living in that moment.
2. The punchline
No, this is not a joke to get a laugh but a positive final thought to leave your audience with. End with a powerful message that they will take away from the room and think about. Empower your audience, build up to this moment, deliver it and let it hang in the air as you exit to the applause. If you have achieved something then let them realise they can do it too.
Tip: Leave pauses. Don't be afraid to show the right emotion at the correct point.
3. Make it personal
If you can use personal experience to get your message across then don't hold back. You are not baring your soul for everyone, you are showing them how empowered you are. People love a story of triumph and success, and they will relate to it much better if they know it was your journey.
Tip: Be you. No power stance, just act the way you would around friends.
Don't just deliver a factual blow-by-blow account. Your crowd want to learn from your speech and also be entertained. A good story - be it a novel, movie or yarn in the pub - has a wonderful plot with plenty of twists.
Tip: Start with the action. Tell your crowd how you got into this situation, then rewind to the beginning and keep them intrigued.
5. Make it funny
If you are a funny person then make your story funny. It doesn't have to be a full-on stand-up show, but if there is an opportunity to make your audience laugh then go for it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you are the only one who missed the joke, so this technique will ensure your audience remain attentive. But make sure you know the crowd you're playing and don't attempt to be offensive or crude. Light-hearted humour can reach out to everyone.
Tip: Tell the jokes that make you laugh, don't try to be someone you're not. But always test them out first.