How to Give a Motivational Speech to Teenagers

Mixed race businesswoman speaking on stage and pointing
A woman is giving a speech. (Image: Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images)

The teenage years can be quite challenging as young people let go of their childhoods and embrace the adult world. Whether you want to motivate them to make good choices, head toward a particular career or get moving toward their goals, a well-prepared speech can leave them with life-long guidance. A successful motivational speech for teenagers includes knowing the audience, targeting a few key points and understanding when it's time to stop talking.

Step 1

Narrow the topic. Adolescents are not well-known for having long attention spans. You only have a limited time to make an impact; therefore, narrowing your topic to the bare basics will give you the foundation on which to build the speech. For example, if your speech is meant to steer them toward a certain university, decide to only speak of that university's high points and not waste time comparing it to other universities in the area.

Step 2

Know your audience. Are the teens who will hear the speech mostly inner-city kids from lower economic homes, or are they in suburbia with parental checkbooks at their disposal? Does the community provide support for teenagers through programs and assistance, or are they responsible for finding their own resources? Understanding who will be in your audience allows you to dovetail the speech to hit home with those particular kids. In addition, you will be able to pass out supporting documentation that includes local resources, websites and other information pertaining to that exact audience.

Step 3

Open with a bang. A speech designed to get teens reaching for success should include a power-packed opening about a young adult who is extremely successful. Including several such examples in your motivational speech will illustrate to audience members that it can be done and you have faith in their ability to take life by the horns and succeed. The 30s and 40s seem very far away to the average teenager. Use examples of mega-successes under the age of 23 so they can relate.

Step 4

Incorporate visual aids. Audience members who are primarily auditory learners will absorb your words, while visual learners will attach the words to the visual cues you provide. Overhead presentations work, but you can also dress it up by including a couple of friends to act out key points on the stage. Get creative to hold the teens' attention.

Step 5

Keep it short. Going back to the attention span of hormone-filled and busy teens, refraining from dragging the speech out is the best method to get your point across. Address a few key points and then stop talking. Think back to your teen years and something that was said to you that has stuck with you to this day. Was it a long, drawn-out conversation, or are the words you will never forget short and sweet? Motivate with carefully chosen words that don't take a lot of time to express.

Step 6

Practice, practice practice. If you are staring at your notes for the entire speech, you will lose the teenagers' interest. Practice enough that the speech becomes second nature so you can maintain eye contact throughout the actual event.

Warning

Choose your examples of successful young adults carefully so the ones you discuss don't end up in legal trouble a few months down the road.

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