This was a question recently asked by one of the members of the Hubpages fraternity and which I answered along the following lines:
Yes, motivational speakers do leave an impact upon their listeners, but often it is in ways far subtler than the words themselves. What leaves its mark on this listener is the character of the speaker. If he or she comes across as really sincere, a person who exemplifies what they’re talling about, who ‘walks their talk,’ to use speaker jargon, then they make a far more lasting impression than the words themselves.
Such speakers need to be willing to put their egos aside and talk from the heart. They need to be willing to take upon themselves a sort of ‘voluntary vunerability.’ This means risk: being laughted at, criticised, even denigrated for their views. For if they’re trying to change us they need show themselves as ‘already changed’ or, at the very least, willing to change. All of us abhor hippocrisy, so genuineness is essential.
I then went on to tell the questioner that it has been said that the actual impact of most motivational speeches fizzles out within three or four days. But if a lasting impression is to be made it need be made in the context of an emotional and uplifting story or stories. For it is stories that are remembered down the years, not the flowery phrases of eloquence. Stories! Stories stick.
So if you want to be a motivational speaker who really wants to make a difference – tell stories.