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Inspiration

A.S.T. - District 50, Area 66, Club 9872

   

Toastmaster Speech Manual Number Ten

Inspire Your Audience  
 

Objectives
*   To understand the mood and feelings of your audience on a particular occasion 
*   To put those feelings into words and inspire the audience, using all the techniques you have  
     learned so far 
*   TIME: Eight to ten minutes

    Since this speech will be longer than your previous talks, make arrangements in advance with your Club Vice President Education for the extra time.  
    As you become known as someone who can speak
effectively, you'll undoubtedly be called upon to deliver an uplifting or inspirational talk - a speech that challenges people to embrace noble motives or achieve their highest potential. In this project you'll learn how to deliver such a presentation. You'll select a subject that has deep meaning to you and your audience, then organize the thoughts and beliefs you and the audience share into a dynamic, inspirational speech.  
 

The Value of Inspiration 
We all develop routines, often forgetting what first motivated us toward a particular goal or even what our goals are. For this reason, we periodically need new motivation to help us break out of our routines and set and achieve goals. This need is a challenge for you as a speaker, one can meet by understanding how to inspire an audience.  
  
Essentially, your purpose in this type of speech is to say what your listeners already think and feel. You're speaking for the audience, putting their sentiments into words appropriate to the occasion. This approach appeals to noble motives and the highest beliefs.  
  

The Great Speech  
Many times, in many countries, great crises have been met and overcome because a leader was able to inspire people with the right words spoken in the right way. One such time was during the United States Constitutional Convention in 1789. The delegates were attempting to create a constitution for the new country, but they were divided into angry factions. They became so disheartened that many delegates wanted to patch together an easy compromise and go home.  
    Then their chairman, George Washington, rose and delivered one of the briefest speeches in the history of statesmanship. "If we offer to the people something of which we ourselves do not approve," he said, "how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest may gladly repair. The event is in the hands of God."  
    There was silence when he finished. The members looked at one another, first in shame, then with determination. They resumed their work and produced the United States Constitution, one of the greatest documents in history.  
 

Who Are You?  
George Washington's short talk illustrates the two foundations of a speech to inspire: who you are, and what you say. He didn't find those stirring words in a book. They grew out of his character, out of what his work meant to him.  
    Similarly, you must search yourself to find the material for an inspirational speech. To be effective, such a speech cannot be superficial. You're the leader in this situation, and you must exhibit the qualities of leadership. This type of talk calls for dignity, excellence of style, and an emotional rapport with your audience.  
    As you speak, you should follow these four essential precepts of leadership:  
 
 

1

Be Confident. Since you're giving expression to something your audience already feels and believes, this isn't the place to  raise questions or express doubts.

2

Be Forceful. Show enthusiasm and vitality. Use body language to demonstrate your conviction. Paint vivid word     pictures to bring the audience "up the mountain" with you. 

3

Be Positive. Bold statements telling the audience what they should do will stir them to action; criticizing them or making  excuses for what they have failed to do will not inspire them at all.

4

Be Define. Give clear and specific illustrations and conclusions. Present enough information to make sure your audience  is with you all the way. 

 
 

Qualities of an Inspirational Speech  
Since you are putting into words the common aspirations, feelings, and beliefs of your audience, you are not expected to present earthshaking new ideas. Rather, your goals are to:  
  
 

1.    Bring the audience together in a mood of fellowship and shared desires  
2.    Build the audience's enthusiasm and draw it out  
3.    Give the audience a clear sense of purpose. 

    
The word "inspire" means "to breathe into." Your speech should contain illustrations and thoughts that capture the audience's imagination and breathe life into the talk. The words will vary with the occasion - a football rally, a political meeting, a religious service - but the goal is the same. You are there to lift up your listeners with words and inspire them to achieve great things.  
 

Preparing Your Talk  
The basic principle of the inspirational speech is to build your talk out of the occasion on which you're presenting it. To do this you must have a feeling for the people in your audience and their expectations.  
 
Since understanding your audience is so important, you're especially fortunate in knowing the members of your Toastmasters Club well. You should be able to prepare a speech that precisely fits them. However, if you would like to present a talk that would fit a hypothetical special occasion, tell the Toastmaster of the meeting what occasion you are assuming so it can be  announced to the audience. The occasion could be a pre-game pep talk, sales talk, or commencement address.  

Whatever type of inspirational talk you are preparing, first consider your real or imagined audience and what they may be thinking. Then, as a representative of this group, consider what you would want to hear and what you already know that could contribute to this talk. Complete this process by finding appropriate facts, quotes, and inspirational thoughts from other sources, then assemble your speech.  
 
You may also channel the feelings of the audience in a direction different from what they expect, as long as their basic mood or beliefs are not challenged. While expressing the feelings of the audience, you may wish to improve the quality of those feelings, such as replacing selfish motives with more generous ones. When your audience accepts you as one of them, they will accept and be grateful for your attempts to lift their feelings to a more noble level.  
 

Presenting the Talk  
Just as the content of your talk is determined by the occasion, the delivery must be appropriate to the mood of the audience, such as thoughtful, enthusiastic, mournful, exalted. You should display those aspects of your personality that conform most closely to the feelings of the group. Emphasize your agreement with the audience, using phrases that include "we" and "us."  
    This type of speech - more than any other - depends on the quality and style of your delivery. Your presentation should be direct and urgent, showing that you really care how your listeners react. Your speaking should be controlled and confident while showing sincerity and enthusiasm. Give your audience reason to respect your balanced judgment and deep understanding. 

Rely heavily on illustrations and examples to make your audience feel what you feel. Choose your words carefully and aim them for the heart, not the head.  
 

Your Evaluation  
Your evaluator will expect you to choose a subject that fits a real or simulated occasion and express the highest feelings of the audience on that occasion. Through use of examples and illustrations, you should bring the audience up to a higher level of belief or achievement. Use all the skills you have learned, including body language, voice control, and persuasion, to deliver a 
powerful and appropriate message. 
 
 

 

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