Motivation Theory

The Motivation in Motivational Speaking

Or: How we Get To... Just Do It!

To motivate in public speaking requires an understanding of the motivation theory. This understanding is essential to be able to take the lead and for managing.

Here are a few of the basic theories. All have similarities. Some have certain flaws. As people grow and as cultures grow, so do motivations. What was true about workplace drives one hundred years ago has changed for the average young person today. However, some common factors remain the same.

The benefit of reviewing and learning these motivation theories will be in their application. The better we understand how people are moved, the easier it will be to communicate to them in a language they will receive and be moved to act upon.

The wonderful bonus, you can speak to all the motivational types or motivation drives in the same lecture and basically only be heard by the ones you’re addressing at any point in the lecture.

Although there have been numerous challenges to these theories, as a whole they still hold up. To my knowledge, you will not find my motivation theory challenge I call Maslow's Flaw in popular literature. Even so, I believe it an important consideration with the renewed spirituality of people on the whole.

Abraham Maslow Hierarchy of needs (1943)

    Self Actualization and Fulfillment Esteem and Status Belonging and Social Needs Safety and Security Physiological

    This motivation theory indicates we will fulfill the bottom ones first before moving on to the next higher ones. In other words, we will fight to breath before we eat, we will eat before we will worry about our social needs and so on.

Maslow's Flaw

    One flaw that the Maslow Hierarchy does not address is the higher spiritual need of man. To fill the need of the human spirit, some men will go off to war for their country and some have flown planes into buildings in demonstration of their strongly held beliefs. The physiological need is thus superseded by the spiritual need in some cases.

    A poignant example I have seen when visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. was that of the man who’s little book I was given. He was one of Jehovah’s witnesses. He was executed for his faith. According to one of the displays, he could have spared himself this fate had he only supported Hitler and his war machine. His faith and belief of being accountable to God superseded a need for self preservation.

The Three Needs Motivation Theory...David McClelland

    For Achievement

      The drive for achievement, overcoming challenges and obstacles in pursuit of goals,
      Accept higher sense of personal responsibility,
      They will actually work harder when it is perceived they will receive personal credit for the job done, little chance of risk and they will get feedback.

    For Power

      Influence people and change situations. Power motivated people may be institutional power motivated or personal motivated power. The personal power leaders tend to be unsuccessful as organizational leaders.

    For Affiliation

      They receive satisfaction from acceptance and friendship They work better when complimented about their cooperative attitude.

    Competence Motivation (Literature has added a fourth important motivation)

      Competence motivated individuals will seek to master their jobs, develop problem solving skills and strive toward innovation. They expect high quality work from their associates. They may become impatient when poor work is produced. This personal drive may cause them to overlook the need for human relationship and reasonable output levels.

Theory X Theory Y

    Theory X Assumptions:
      People naturally dislike work
      People must be coerced or controlled to do work to achieve objectives
      People prefer to be directed

    Theory Y Assumptions:

      People view work as being as natural as play and rest
      People will exercise self-direction and -control towards achieving objectives they are committed to
      People learn to accept and seek responsibility

Motivation Hygiene Factors theory

    Motivator factors help to increase job satisfaction:



      Work itself




    Hygiene factors are those whose absence can create job dissatisfaction:

      Company policy


      Relationship with Boss

      Working conditions


      Peer relationship

Goal Setting Motivation Theory

    Goals increase performance, and difficult goals produce higher performance and results when accepted.

Putting theories to work.

Knowing motivation theory and how people are motivated in work and business can help shape the words used as motivators in a speech. By addressing the strongest motivational drive of each type of listener a speaker can reach each type of listener. It is possible to speak to each of these individuals collectively with each type only picking up their personal message. The result can be leadership and motivation for the entire audience.

Use these theories in developing and crafting the words to be used in a motivational speech and you will motivate.

Public Speaking Motivation Home Page and more motivation resources. The Public Speaking Motivation Theory Resource

Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
Lets Connect View Jonathan Steele RN Holistic Nurse's profile on LinkedIn
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