Online Public Speaking

Training & Practice


Motivations - Part 2 of 2


Intrinsic motivators make the world go round. The world is full of people doing things for reasons that are deeply personal to them. Whether it is fighting for freedom, creating art, trying to cure a disease, feeding the poor, working for the love of a job instead of just for the money, or raising children, there’s an endless list of intrinsic motivators that is often beautiful to behold.

For public speaking-related purposes, we recommend you develop and use positive intrinsic motivators.

But there’s a catch, and it’s a big one; there’s an incredible irony when it comes to giving a speech.

If you have to speak because someone is making you, you’ll probably never do as well as you would if you were speaking for your own positive, intrinsic reasons, yet the vast majority of people who get up in front of an audience are being thrust into the task by a situation that has come up, which is an extrinsic  motivator.

Let’s look at some examples of reasons people might want to learn public speaking that we used in the beginning in our Goals section. Now that you know about extrinsic and intrinsic motivators, do you see anything coincidental about this list?

I need to start giving presentations for work or school.

I need to make it through an upcoming event that I have to speak at.

I got a promotion at work and need to start running meetings.

I joined a group and now need to speak to many people at once.

I want to get over a fear of public speaking.

The shared common thread is that they are all the result of external motivators. 

The first four relate to external events or situations that are forcing change. The fifth, overcoming the fear of public speaking, is driven by a desire to avoid a negative reaction from an audience. The motivations of each of these scenarios are, therefore, extrinsic.

Our goal is to help you find and use INTRINSICALLY rewarding reasons for giving presentations. To be forced into action unwillingly can create the wrong results in many ways. Public speaking can be an uncomfortable, miserable task when it’s thrust upon an unwilling participant.

Once you have arrived at the moment where you need to present to an audience, regardless of how you get there, focusing on intrinsic motivators will help you become a more passionate and effective communicator.  It will help you find better content for your presentation and it will enable you to succeed beautifully in your quest to become an excellent public speaker.

This is one of the MOST important concepts we will be sharing with you during your entire journey.

When you are preparing for and giving a presentation, approach it in a way that is intrinsically rewarding to you. Tell yourself that you don’t HAVE to do it, because it’s extremely rare that someone is literally and actually forcing you to give a presentation; even a job or an education or involvement in an event or a group is a choice. Remind yourself of the reasons YOU actually WANT to do it. 

Find the reasons, because there surely ARE reasons you want this for you. If it’s giving a wedding toast, you want to do it because someone important to you is getting married, and you have the honor of saying a few words about them, which is intrinsically rewarding.

If it’s giving a speech to a group of prospective clients, you want to do that because when your life improves from your gains at work or your skills grow, it is ultimately intrinsically rewarding. If you are being asked to share your work with colleagues, it is really you who gets to share your ideas and use your VOICE, which is intrinsically rewarding. You can almost ALWAYS find real reasons that speaking to others will result in something satisfying to you.

Right now, shift your focus away from I have to do this because, to I want to do this for ME. Remember, doing something that gives you personal satisfaction is far more rewarding than doing something you are being forced to do.

Here are some ideas for making this transition:

First, ask yourself if you MUST give the presentation. Unless someone is pointing a gun at you, you probably have a choice. If you’re going to proceed, YOU are the one in control, not someone else.

Next, ask yourself what you stand to gain by the task. Will you be able to make improvements in your life? Will you gain new skills, enjoy your career more, or experience some other personal gain?  Will you feel great about overcoming a challenge that may have daunted you for your entire life?

Next, ask yourself what giving the speech will do for someone else, because helping others is almost always intrinsically rewarding. If it’s an awards ceremony or a wedding toast, sharing your thoughts about others is a way of honoring them and their big day. If it’s a speech about someone or something, will your thoughts and words help that cause or that person?  Will you help others by teaching them about something in your presentation that will improve their lives?

Finally, look into the task of giving a speech. Learn all you can, make it an enjoyable process. As we’ll discuss later, there are ways to make presentations more intrinsically rewarding by using subject matter that we’re passionate about.  Being very well-prepared can make you feel intrinsically rewarded for doing a great job even before giving the actual speech.  Following the process in Pspeak will make you more confident, and confidence in and of itself can be a powerful intrinsic motivator!  

Now, ask yourself a simple question. If you knew that by learning to speak effectively in public you could gain many advantages in your schooling, in your career, in your personal life, and in your social life, would it mean more to you than just getting through an upcoming speech?

If so, consider taking a different approach to public speaking right from the very beginning. You may have come here for an extrinsic reason, positive or negative, but you can set an early goal of switching to an intrinsic reason, and that will make the entire experience infinitely more positive.