3 Purposes For Motivational Speeches

MotivationYou may already know my hangup with the term Motivational Speaker. If not, visit my earlier post titled What Scares Me About A Motivational Speaker.

A good motivational speech does exactly that—it motivates. It engages the minds and hearts of people in such a way that motivates them to think more clearly, see opportunities, and move forward with action.

Bad motivational speeches are like the neighborhood teen rock band that doesn’t have the proper sound system and still plays a 90 minute set. It can be awkward and leaves all in the audience empathizing with the person trying to hold the group’s attention for another 43 minutes.

I was recently asked, “Other than the obvious, what’s the purpose of motivational speeches?” Motivational speeches, when done well, are a planting of seeds. They create a human experience that awakens the audience and shines a light on the path ahead. The best speeches engage the minds and hearts of people and the best speakers cause each member in the audience to:

  • Remember — connect back to their highest purpose as a human being, as a team, or as a company. They move them beyond daily distractions and lead them back to remember what their mission is in the first place.
  • ReThink — see their life and work with new eyes. They create an environment and thought-provoking content that leads people to dwell in possibility and see things from new angles of vision.
  • ReSpond — compel words into action. They use powerful stories and illustrations that light a fire in people and stimulates an authentic desire to be a catalyst for positive change in their life and work. The speech comes to life!

Before every motivational speech I am honored to be asked to contribute, I remind myself of these things and try my best to capture the imagination of those gathered. I don’t see it as a speech to deliver at them, but as an experience to be created with them. It is about contributing authentic messages and stimulating progress. It is about tapping into the human experience.

The most effective organizations and teams then carry the content beyond the experience and are committed to watering the seeds. They return to the messages often. They incorporate the ideas into their culture and they follow through with action. They are committed to a coordinated process of leading change.

In the end, even the best keynote speakers can only aim to do their best—and pray that it resonates. And, without fail, seeds begin to grow.

Travel Gracefully,


Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.

Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com