Most people get nervous before standing up in front of a crowd to give a speech, but knowing your audience is a bunch of teens who probably want to be somewhere else can make your nerves even worse. Motivating teens through your words can be a daunting, but it’s not as difficult as many people fear. Finding the right tone, using a little humor and touching on their interests can make all the difference.
Start with your topic, advises the University of Hawaii’s Speech Department. If you are assigned a topic to discuss, thoroughly research that topic before you begin writing your speech. If you are coming up with a topic of your own as an outline for your speech, ensure that it is something interesting and easy to follow. Find out as much as you can about it, because nothing is worse than a motivational speech in which the speaker doesn’t know what he’s motivating his audience about.
Consider your audience, advises Brad Montgomery, motivational speaker. What you say and how you say it depends a lot on your audience. For example, a speech about retirement will be very interesting to people approaching that age, but it won’t be interesting to a group of teens.
Create an outline. Your speech should have an introduction, a story and a conclusion. Creating an outline better enables you to organize your thoughts so you can put them into words. This way, you will be able to put elements in the order you want so your speech makes the most sense.
Rely on personal stories of motivation to help you make your point during your speech, advises Montgomery. Teens are more likely to respond to humor and interesting stories than to a long list of facts and statistics. Think back to events and emotions you experienced, especially funny or ironic experiences and use those to help you deliver your point. When you use real stories, you engage your listener and increase their ability to retain the information you are providing.
Practice your speech, advises the University of Hawaii. Practice in front of the mirror and in front of your family. Practice as often as possible so your words flow naturally. You will probably be able to keep a copy of your speech with you while you give it, but the less you have to look at your notes, the more natural your speech will sound.
Use visuals, if possible, advises Montgomery. If you are giving a motivational speech about how you made it out of a dismal childhood into a thriving and successful business career by working four jobs to pay for college, show photos of the life you used to live, your college experience and your current life. It helps your audience stay focused and retain information.
Make eye contact, smile and don't talk too fast while giving your speech. If you mess up, keep going.