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PelePeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

((There needs to be a panic emoticon!))

So here's the deal. I went into a "audition" today and walked out with two gigs, this is good. However, I am screwed.
They want me, shy Lynnie, not performing Pele, to be a motivational speaker for a bunch of teenage kids.
The reasoning is many folded:
= They liked that I am a girl who went against family pressure and social norms to find something I love and then made it into a lucrative career choice.

= They liked that I am so proactive in my personal life and that I don't wait for things to happen for me.

= They liked that I used the arts I do to overcome much in my life, mainly bulemia.

Now, I can talk to you all till the cows come home about it, because you can't see me. "Pele" can go on for hours about any aspect of performing that pleases you. However, me...Lynnie, standing up in front of hundreds of kids showing what I do and then telling about how it helped me and why I did what I did and..and..and

This is the first time I have ever been asked to be fully me and not perform in a performance capacity, and that is really frightening. And then they say to be motivational! There are days I banish the thought of motivating my butt out of the bed let alone hundreds of teenagers!
Okay, so I know to make eye contact. I know not to say "Um...". I know to smile and try to be upbeat and charismatic.
Anything else? I could use a bit of help here please!
Thanks in advance!

[ 12 April 2002, 09:20: Message edited by: Pele ]

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

4,308 posts
Location: York, England

This is an odd suggestion, but could you create a charcter to be a speaker? I mean, perhaps Pele isn't a motivational speaker, and Lynnie isn't, but could you in your head make yourself one?

Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

1,015 posts
Location: Austin TX USA

Perhaps you can turn your dislike for public speaking to your advantage--make it part of the point.

If you could play a video of you doing your thing, and then explain something like "this is what I do, and while *I* am not comfortable being a public performer, this is what I love to do, and I've invented an alter-ego that I slip into, which makes it easier. And right now I wish I could be that alter-ego, because I'm nervous, but I'm just being me."

This would help make the point that it ain't easy in any number of ways, but it is possible. And it would make you seem more real to them, perhaps.

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

AdeSILVER Member
Are we there yet?
1,897 posts
Location: australia

Find yourself a Toastmasters speaking group - they are fantastic at helping you overcome your nerves when speaking in front of an audience. I love public speaking and can do it at the drop of a hat - Toastmasters helped a lot in that development.

Practice, practice and practice, that's really the only way to overcome the nerves - bit like performing really!

Good luck

PelePeleBRONZE Member
the henna lady
6,193 posts
Location: WNY, USA

Thanks everyone.
Funny you mention Toastmasters Ade, I was just asked to present at one, and to join. I can actually speak to really small groups quite well, and our group here is really small.
Adam, they actually want me to perform live, otherwise the video thing is a fantastic idea.

Here's the thing. In conjunction with the local YWCA, at which I will be teaching a few classes and have done several small presentations, there are several local church youth groups and rural school organizations which want to come together to promote strength and individuality in young women. They are proposing a series of activities to happen throughout the summer, bonding and educational events. I think it is great.
Originally they wanted me to perform at a "lock-in" event they are having. No problem. Then that turned into a mini-teaching session, again, no problem. Then they interviewed me and thought I would be this great motivational keynote speaker for their orientation party, and as a way to get more to come to the lock-in. A kind of, see a bit of what she does, listen to what she has to say, then come back later to see more and learn deal. I don't mind that. I really believe in what they are doingm and the young girls seem really excited to have me there, but all these what if's keep going through my head....
What if I say something wrong? What if I am not motivational? What if ......
Anyway, thanks for all the ideas!
I'll let you know how it goes!

Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

RoziSILVER Member
100 characters max...
2,996 posts
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

One of the most damaging things can be a "motivational speaker". You know the type, they get the crowd in to such a frenzy that they could walk on hot coals, then a month later when it hasn't really changed their day-to-day life, they feel twice the failure they felt before "but I listened to the speech & did everythin they said?!!"

Don't try to be responsible for other people's motivation. It takes a lot of energy, & you can't do it for ever.

Just tell your story and let people take from it the message & inspiration they can.



It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

23 posts
Location: Israel

Well, i kinda do this sorta thing every week, but not as in motivational speaker but a diferent thing...hard to explain...
What i can tell you is that the best thing to do this kinda things is to chanelize (pardon my english) the things you are good at into the speech. In your case chanelize poi into motivation, im sure that if u star by performing you will get everyones attention, you can even invite a couple of the kids to try and teach them something really basic. Then you tell your story and finally transform your story into each kids "wil be" story...ask them what hobbies they have, let them tell you a little about it, how whatever they do helps them overcome diferent things...etc.
If its hard for you to talk a lot then let them make the talking and just kinda guide them to their own conclusions.
I hope this helps
good luck!


Raymund Phule (Fireproof)Raymund Phule (Fireproof)Enter a "Title" here:
2,905 posts
Location: San Diego California

Practice practice practice. I have done speakings before many Marines before and in the civilian world. The thing you must know about public speaking and motovational speeking is that you know what the hell your saying. Get rid of all the umms and pauses. The only time you should pause is for dramatic or comical purposes. Creating a character of yourself is not a bad idea either. Every Thursday I have to give a brief infront of aoubt 200+ Marines most of which out rank me so the first few times I was nervus. So what I did to over come this was be as loud as possible. I addressed them like they were second rate and I was "The Man" I stormed up to the rail (picture a raised platform and a standing area below) and bellowed "HEY DEVILDOGS LITSTEN UP!!" I went on with my schpeal and actually got good remarks from my superiors. Attitude is everything, even if its fake Pele you are "The Woman". You need to be psyched and not nervus, commanding but not mean, and most inmportant informative without being boring. Use humor but not to much and if all else fails wing the SOB. I have given short sermons from the pulpit and right before I started I looked back at my youth minister and then addressed all those in attendence and said, "Well today I have prepared a sermon about (whatever) but I aint gonna use it." I looked out saw the horror on my parents face then looked back and saw the horror on my youth ministers face. Because you will never know what I will say.

Some Jarhead last night: "this dumb a$$ thinks hes fireproof"

DomDomBRONZE Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,009 posts
Location: Bristol, UK

I think the reason they want Lynnie is because that's the motivation. 'Motivational' isn't a way of speaking (there's plenty who can talk motivation, and fail to get the spirit across), it's getting a message across. Just by giving the story of your journey you might inspire people. You don't have to be the greatest talker, make funny jokes, etc... you just have to be yourself.

As a shy person who has to talk and present at meetings and such I say just relax, and maybe treat it as if you're talking to a new friend instead of presenting to a large crowd. Keep in informal and let it flow naturally.

You'll do wonderfully, don't worry!

36 posts
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Hey Pele,

I've been away from HOP for literally half a year now, because I've been coordinating a volunteer program focussed on the promotional side of an entertainment venue. This has taken up a great portion of my spare time (alas my twirling has had to take a backseat for now), and in this time I have done a heck of a lot of soul searching, hair pulling and angst purging in my efforts to train, organise and inspire my team (aged 18-27) in their work. A lot of the time, I feel like I fall short.

Now I'm not a shy person by any means, but I'm more private than my more outgoing and charismatic volunteers (I really only got the job because of my admin and organisational skills than for my personal style), and I learned a lot in my lonely trek to the top of the leadership mountain (I still don't think I'm quite there). Nevertheless, I have learned a few things about motivation.

Motivation has nothing to do with charisma, it's got to do with heart. If you sincerely work your butt off for something as I did for my program, people can naturally see it, and respect it. That's what motivation is about. In the two training sessions I held, I found that people were most motivated when they saw how I spent my own time and energy on something that meant a great deal to me.

I can see that you put a whole heap of heart into your own craft, and I believe that when you give your talk, people will naturally see it. All you have to say, is what it means to you, to be able to do what you love, the steps you took to get you where you are, the burdens you shouldered along the way and the problems that your steps posed at times. But ABOVE ALL, show them how much you love what you do!

As for talking to groups in general, start off by introducing yourself, what you do and your interests. If the kids don't know each other, get them to introduce themselves to you and everyone else. Don't pace the room, but don't stand/sit like a zombie, use body and/or and movement. If you want, confess to them that you're a little bit shy re talking to people like this, it'll help them to be more comfortable with you when they realise that you're just like them (alternatively, keep in mind that they're just like you, just younger and hence have experienced less than you in life).

Be interactive. Pose the kids questions (e.g. What things do you love doing? or Have you ever worked your way through problems to achieve something important to you?), try to relate these to yourself and your profession. Keep your talk open to Q&A throughout.

The motivation that you impart to them in the end, shows itself in the very fact that you love what you do so much that you were able to overcome the obstacles, and are happier for it in the end. They will realise that things can be frustrating, but the harder they work for what they love, the more deserving they are of it in the end, and the more satisfying it is to achieve.

Hope that that helps you out, and that I didn't ramble too much, and best of luck

[ 14 April 2002, 00:28: Message edited by: evenstar ]

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring.

ellieBRONZE Member
38 posts
Location: England

Hey Pele,

Yeah, what Rozi and Dom said about telling your story and inspiring people is real true. Have one point you wanna get across then use your story to demonstrate it. Whether the point is 'Live your Dreams' or 'be all you want to be' or whatever else, make it so they leave at the end with that in their heads. Like Rozi said, you can get a group to leave an event all fired up but ask them in a week what you said they wouldn't remember, or you can ham just one point home and they will remember it forever. Everyone wants to hear about other people's lives, it's real then, people can identify with it. Give people real life and they are inspired.

Also rememember that they are teenagers. I work with teenagers 24/7 and teenagers often look up to and listen to people a little older who have something 'cool' about them, like your fire, use that to grab their attention.

Hope that helps

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