In order to do this I have learnt that the students need to have an emotional connection to the lesson/message being delivered by myself. As a speaker I don not just want to be heard. That’s all for the ego; being an outstanding motivational speaker is not about having your ego stroked but about creating an emotional link with the members of the audience. Speakers must get past the young people’s ears and into their hearts. I feel that if we can correctly take the young people on the journey I’m about to outline then we can overcome barriers and change can happen.
First Stop – REALISATION
The first stop is all about allowing the student to realise something. This could be the realisation that they can do better, this could mean they realise that there are strategies they can implement to get better results or just that they’re awesome. This is usually done by us delivering information to them which could be showing relevant statistics, showing them how powerful their minds actually are or equipping them with time management techniques. At this point the students intellectually understand what we are saying. They know that if they take actions A and B they will get C. This however is only the first stop. The mistake a lot of people make is thinking that knowledge is power. Knowledge isn’t power; the application of knowledge is power. An obese person knows intellectually exactly what they need to do to get fit and healthy, without application they will always be obese. This brings us to the second stop on their journey.
Second Stop – PERSONALISATION / RELEVANCE
On the surface, one could believe that as a speaker we need to deliver a generic speech. This to me is the wrong approach. Yes, we are speaking to hundreds of students at a time who are extremely different. They may have different abilities, different goals and different situations going on at home. However I still believe there are 3 main questions we need to answer in their heads in order for them to internalise and act upon what we have to say. Those questions are:
1: Why does this matter to me?
Generally these students have not heard of us, in some cases they don’t even have an advanced warning that we are coming into their school. So they are sat in assembly which they already do not enjoy and a complete stranger is talking to them about becoming better. They need to know why what we have to say matters to them.
2: What’s in it for me?
One of the main motivators of people is the possibility of gain. We must show the students what they may gain by listening and applying the messages we give to them. This must be a personal incentive that will motivate them long after we have gone. They can gain things such as great grades, making their parents proud or getting into the college/university they really want to get to. Whatever that outcome is we, as motivators need to help facilitate making it clear for the young people.
3: What if I don’t apply it?
The other main motivator of people is the fear of loss. What will happen if they don’t apply the messages and techniques they are being taught? In most cases they will coast and achieve the same level of results they are currently attaining. This could result in disappointing their families, themselves or not being able to progress down the career path they’d really like to.
Third Stop – IMPLEMENTATION
It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of believing that because we got a loud round of applause and great feedback from teacher that our job is done. Motivation is temporary, but new standards and habits are permanent. Our job has not been done effectively if students are excited but left with the question “Now what?” in their minds. Our company tells schools that we are the students ‘Sat-Nav to success’. Sat-Navs do not say, “London is a really great place, you’d love it… best of luck getting their see you next year”. They give us step by step instructions on how we reach our desired destination.
‘Give a man to fish; you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish; you feed him for a lifetime’
Final Stop – A NEW BEGINNING
This metaphor is a slight paradox because our final stop marks the end of our journey with the students but a new beginning for them. At this point they have a choice; if we have done our job properly they will be empowered to make the right decision. This could result in the reaping the rewards or feeling the consequence. Regardless of their decision, if we have done our job properly at some point, now or later they will move in a positive direction. If they make the right decision instantly they will begin to achieve higher than before which will result in their self-esteem rising. They will then understand that they have the power within them to improve their results at any given time by applying the strategies. If they do not choose to implement the ideas straight away they may experience the consequences. Once they are ready they will go back to the ‘second stop’ and implement the lessons learnt.
As presenters we must make sure we take the students through all 4 stops in this journey in order to create a lasting impact. We are not forcing them to make the change but empowering them to do so at any given time.