Like any other public speaker, the motivational speaker has a set of responsibilities prior to his speech presentation. He has to fulfill all these to ensure his success in making a positive impact on his listeners. Here is a checklist of these responsibilities:
Researching about the audience. There are a thousand ways to say something. However, there can only be a very few ways to say something successfully to a specific type of audience. While a motivational speaker talks about closely related topics in his speaking engagements, this does not mean that he can just recycle his speeches. He has to remember that in each speaking engagement, he has to adapt his speech to an entirely different kind of audience with entirely unique needs. How can the speaker do this? He may try to learn about the demographics and psychographics of his audience by talking to the event organizers.
Knowing more about the occasion. Another important thing the motivational speaker has to know about, as part of his speech preparation, is the occasion. A responsible speaker does not just go and speak in front of an audience after knowing them carefully. He also spends time to know and understand why the occasion is held. In doing so, he will be able to adapt his speech and meet the motivational needs of his audience. How can the speaker do this? Much like in learning about his audience, he may also talk to the event organizers; well, it’s also an option to do research about the occasion online.
Understanding the specific purpose of the appearance. In most cases, speakers are invited to speak in an event alone; sometimes, they are invited to speak together with other speakers. The speaker who motivates has to know and understand why, specifically, he is invited to talk. Understanding the specific purpose of the appearance would let him research on relevant information about his assigned topic, preventing him from gathering (and sharing) any unnecessary information. Furthermore, this would help him avoid repeating the tasks of the other invited speakers.
Writing the speech. Once the speaker knows well enough about his audience, the occasion and the purpose of his appearance, and has researched enough about his assigned topic, he is finally ready to write his speech. While a simple speech outline is enough for most professional public speakers, a copy of the whole speech is still deemed valuable. Their speech manuscript could serve as a cue or guide to their assistants who’ll be aiding them during their speech presentation. A copy of the whole speech also comes in handy whenever audience members, event organizers, media people, or other interested individuals ask for it.
Preparing the speech presentation aids. With the advent of technology, public speakers nowadays are presented with many options to enhance their speech presentations, which range from audio to visual aids, or a combination of the two. While most professional speakers have their personal assistants to prepare these aids for them, the responsibility of ensuring the effectiveness or appropriateness of these aids still lies in the speakers themselves. A rule of thumb in preparing a speech presentation aid—it should stay as an aid for the speaker as it is supposed to be, and not as a substitute to the speaker or to the speech itself.
Rehearsing the speech. Last but not the least item on the preparation checklist for the motivational speaker is rehearsing the speech. This item does not only require the speaker to recite the content of the speech. It also requires him to rehearse the delivery of the speech, with all its nonverbal and paralanguage aspects. It also involves a rehearsal of the prepared audio/visual aids. A responsible and humble speaker rehearses his speech no matter how professional or skilled he thinks he is in public speaking.
These are the basic items on the preparation checklist of a motivational speaker. A responsible and truly professional one always makes sure that he satisfies all these items before facing his audience.