The teenage years are a tough yet exciting time, full of promise, potential, and an eagerness to learn. However, keeping this youthful spirit alive and thriving is a constant challenge for educators and parents alike.
To meet this need, high schools often look to inspirational events to keep the students moving forward. With research showing a direct correlation between increased performance, substantial content, and faculty involvement, planning such functions is a wise decision.
However, before you begin planning the big event, take time to develop a list of goals and outcomes, and then find the right motivational speaker to deliver the results.
Develop a Focused Presentation
Though your speaker will have a well-designed portfolio full of various topics and presentation outlines, the framework begins with the vision of the high school event planners.
There are many subjects that relate to motivating youth, but not all themes will fit your situation. To facilitate the brainstorming process, try using the ideas below for inspiration:
Leadership Skills – Good leaders are not born, they are given valuable tools and then taught when and how to use them effectively.
Team Building – Belonging to a group and working together as a cohesive unit is a powerful motivator and is proven to increase student involvement.
Future Plans – Helping teens plan for the future takes special skill, and if done properly can have a life-changing impact.
Stress Management – Teens deal with more stress than adults may be aware of. Therefore, providing them validation and teaching them coping mechanisms is extremely valuable.
Handling Change – No one handles change well, but it is a fact of life, and discovering ways to maintain resilience is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Many more ideas can be generated from this small list, but the goal is to find a purpose for your event and be able to communicate it to your speaker.
Putting a group of high school students in a room and making them sit for hours on end is not a recommended recipe for success. Instead, speak with the presenter about different ways to keep the audience engaged and eager to participate.
Breakout sessions are one way in which a speaker can shift the energy of the crowd. These exercises are generally centered around the purpose of the event, with a more intimate approach. Discuss if such hands-on activities can work for your situation and audience size.
Other options may be to insert interactive moments throughout the speech, getting the students personally involved and working together. Interactions like these establish a shared experience that can result in long-term bonding.
Again, your speaker will be able to guide you through these ideas and help you create the right addition for your occasion.
Experience With Youth Matters
Not everyone works well with kids, and high school students are no exception. As you consider the pool of available speakers, do not get distracted by celebrity status or some other dazzling detail.
Instead, look for speakers who want to work with teens and know how to talk to them.
Though the audience is young, they are savvy, and appreciate adults who possess the following characteristics:
Authenticity – Youth can see right through an adult who is trying to act cool. You want a speaker that is honest, direct and authentic.
Approachable – When teenagers get excited, they become engaged and involved with their surroundings, so get a speaker that can support that.
Respect – Teenagers want to be seen, heard and valued. A speaker who knows how to practice this state of mindfulness is priceless.
Humor – Regardless of the subject matter, humor is a great way to remain relatable, interesting and real.
Creative – All teachers know that managing young people requires creativity. Your speaker should be able to deliver information in creative ways.
High school students do not need an adult to act like a teen. They want a speaker who is real and unafraid of being themselves.
Working Together As a Team
A successful event does not come about by one person’s actions alone. Rather, these functions rely on the efforts of many people working together as a respectful team.
This relationship begins with you and the speaker, by clearly communicating the expectations and the focus of the high school leaders. Additionally, this is the time to discuss roles and responsibilities, so no one makes assumptions, and misunderstandings can be avoided.
For further enrichment, bringing teens into the mix can deliver exciting results. When planning events for young adults, you have an excellent opportunity to let them be part of the process.
This experience gives high school students a voice and a chance to practice valuable skills that are often left to the adults.
Enjoy the Experience
As is often the case, those who are responsible for bringing a presentation to life do not always take a moment to appreciate their efforts. With the proper preparation and planning, your event is bound to be a hit, so stop and savor the moment.
Seeing a crowd of high school students react to the impact a professional motivational speaker can have is a profound and rare moment that should not be missed.
Pandit Dasa is a mindful leadership expert, motivational keynote speaker and author who has spoken at Fortune 500 companies and helps organizations improve employee engagement, retention and workplace happiness. He helps individuals develop positive leadership qualities, lower stress and anxiety, increase focus and productivity and boost emotional intelligence.