Volume 81, December 2007: Inspirational Speaking

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2007 ISSN # 1545-8873

“To inspire is ‘to breathe life into’.” — Dictionary definition

“The awe-inspired person does not want to get hold of or to possess what he reveres … He seeks only to get himself into the frame of mind appropriate to the revered object – one which renders him open to its summons and makes his vision clear for its beckonings.” — Medard Boss

“It was an American statesman who inspired me and taught me how to use every note of the human voice like an organ.” — Winston Churchill

“You have to find a way of working that makes it dead easy to take full advantage of your inspired moments. They never hit at an convenient time nor do they last long.” — Hugh McLeod, How to Be Creative


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Speaking to the heart.
  • Painting the future in word pictures.
  • Weaving values into communication.
  • Personalizing communication.
  • Practicing the art of story-telling.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

How many times have you died a death by PowerPoint or spreadsheet, in front of a corporate audience? Your intention may have been to inform and call to action, get people to work together or lead people into the future. And it fell flat. Next time, perhaps you decided to hire a professional – a motivational speaker of sorts – to deliver your message.

You are missing the powerful language of leadership. The ability to first engage your audience, and then, transport them to another place and time, another frame of mind. Now is the time to awaken your own ability to ignite the human spirit of the individual and inspire the organization as a whole.

Frequently Asked Questions

“How do I address masses and still make it personal?”
By first making a personal connection, then presenting the facts. Story-telling is one of the most engaging techniques for personalizing communication – see our Leader as Storyteller keyzine. Stories are simple, timeless, and gently teach values. Through stories, people visualize events, understand concepts and become engaged – both in their hearts and minds. People remember stories and they repeat them.
The essence of good story-telling, according to Toastmasters, is memorization in pictures so that you can relay the story in pictorial terms. Then through tempo, rhythm, inflection, pause, and volume, you build a state of deep listening, as the audience identifies with the protagonist and lives out the characters’ lives (Deal & Key, 1998).
“What are some of the talents of great inspirational speakers?”
The wise speaker attends to the needs and general feelings of the audience. To be truly inspirational, the speaker must show the audience that their collective self-interests coincide with noble motives. The speaker is aiming first for the heart.
The speaker's language is incorporative – use of “we” emphasizes unity. Playing on nicknames and cultural code words reinforces membership in the community. Authenticity and humanness place the speaker on the audience’s level. Appropriate use of humor relaxes the listener. The speech content contains verbal pictures, stirring words, and metaphors that tap the imagination and breathe life into the ideas.
“I’m not an inspirational type. How can I be authentic?”
You can only speak your own truth. Improve your powers of observation and listening and playing back. Adopt stories that touch you. If something stirs you, chances are good that it will inspire others. Retell a story, leaving it better than it was before. Involve your audience. Try to move from monologue to dialogue to authentic conversation. People cannot argue with their own truth. The spontaneity lends itself to authenticity.
  • Create a celebration event, that invites others to story-tell around a theme. Portray and celebrate your history, strengths and victories with customers and employees.
  • Build a story with your audience. You start it and hand it off to the next person, who builds on it and hands it off again.
  • If the stories going around in your organization are negative and cynical, counter them with stories in a style and tone which allows people to learn, to feel hope and pride, to see solutions and values in action.


Use these sites to further develop your speaking skills: ntations_Speaking_to_Groups_Keynotes_Motivational_Speeches.htm.

An Introduction to Motivational Speaking.

Dale Carnegie Training.

Find meeting locations for Toastmasters: Toastmasters.

Key Associates offers a Leadership Development course, which encompasses story-telling as a preferred mode of communication: The New Leadership.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Famous inspirational speeches.

Links from Empowerment Magazine.

Free articles for effective, assertive communication: Secrets of Communication and Self Development.

Keyzines on related topics: Speaking from the Heart, The Leader as Storyteller, Creative Expression, Effective Listening, and The Power of Vision.



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