How To Give a Boss Pep Talk

We’ve all been in a situation where we need to give someone else a pep talk. (Sometimes I give myself pep talks, too.) I firmly believe in the power of positivity and offering support to others. We’re all only human. We get nervous and sometimes we can doubt ourselves. Giving someone a pep talk can boost their confidence tremendously! If you need to give someone a boss pep talk (even yourself), here are some awesome tips:

Listen and know when someone is in need of a Pep Talk

Listening is key to knowing whether or not someone actually needs a pep talk. If someone you know is struggling in a particular area of their life, and they have made it known – it’s probably time for a pep talk!

How do you know when someone needs a Pep Talk? Here some cues to listen for:

  • Expressing doubt in their abilities
  • Nervousness about an upcoming project or event
  • They may be showing signs of stress
  • Distracted by an upcoming project, event or deadline and can’t seem to focus on anything else

Understand the type of Motivation that will bring the most value to the individual.

You have to know the person you’re giving a pep talk to! Their likes, interests and personality all determines which type of motivation they will be the most responsive to. Some people are harder to “get through to” than others, so some people may need a more extensive pep talk than others. The typical, “You’ve got this”, just won’t be enough for some people, especially if they are really down and doubting themselves.

Is the person you want to give a pep talk the serious type? If so, highlight their best qualities for them without using other references. Let them know that you are serious about your belief in their abilities.

Does the person respond well to affirmations? I’m a huge believer in affirmations – give to others as well as giving them to yourself. Know some good affirmations but again, focus on the individual – using key words that you know they’ll have the most receptive response to.

Here are some affirmation ideas:

(but be sure and customize them to match the individual to deliver the most efficient pep talk)

  • You are great at ______. I’ve seen you do _______ fantastically in the past.
  • Remember the time you __________? You can do this, too!
  • I believe in you (because ________).
  • This will help you move towards the life you’ve always wanted.
  • You are an asset to (their organization) and you prove it all the time.
  • You need to stay optimistic and surround yourself with the positive energy I know you have.
  • You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to go for it!

You can also tailor these to be used for yourself, if it’s you that needs the pep talk! 🙂

Establish that you’re there for them.

None of us like to feel alone. It’s human nature to crave connection. If you care about someone, let them know that you’ll be there for them. Sometimes, that alone can be enough!

A simple, “Either way, I’ve got your back”, can be extremely beneficial to someone in a tough spot.

Make it known that they can talk to you and express their feelings.

And, if they are nervous, fearful or doubtful about an upcoming task they have to complete, let them know they can practice either in front of you, or with you. *This is a great tactic for anyone doing any sort of public speaking or interview.

Mean what you say and say what you mean!

There’s no point in beating around the bush. The most motivating pep talks come from a place of honesty! Be sure you clearly state what you mean. Giving a person false hope isn’t a pep talk at all. Again, this goes back to the individual. Some people respond poorly to criticism, so tread lightly but also don’t bullshit them.

Pep talks are all about intention and leading someone in the right direction. If you don’t really mean it, don’t say it.

Take Bits from Pop Culture for Inspiration

You ever watch something and think, damn, that was really motivating? I have and I’ve recycled some of the wording in movies, music and TV to give a pep talk to someone who I know will respond to that particular reference.

I had to give someone very close to me a pep talk recently. He was concerned about speaking in front of people even though he is incredibly knowledgeable about what he does. I know this person watches “Game of Thrones”, so I took a quote from Lady Olenna Tyrell. I reminded him that in his career, he’s a dragon, and that he should “be a dragon.” That little bit of pop culture reference weaved into a pep talk was enough to get him motivated and do what he needed to do successfully.

Music is also an excellent place to look for pep talk inspiration! Think of the references the individual will relate the most to and use it. Recycled motivational quotes and references are an excellent way to give a pep talk a big boost!

Ask questions that will validate points of motivation.

Yeah, that’s worded a little funny. Basically, what I’m saying is to pose questions that will have reassuring answers to the person receiving the pep talk. This also works wonders in self pep-talks. Sometimes it’s the answers to basic questions that really let the motivation of a pep talk sink in.

Here are some example questions to use during a boss pep talk: 
  • What is the worst that can happen?
  • What is it that you’re actually afraid of?
  • If they’ve done whatever you’re pepping them up for before, ask how they handled it the first time.
  • Do you realize how good you are at ________? (Go further and state examples after the question).

Other key tips to give a Boss Pep Talk:

  • Hold eye contact! It’s important in getting your point across, letting them know you’re serious and that you’re not BSing them.
  • Reference relevant past experiences of your own or of theirs that had a successful outcome.
  • If you have knowledge about what you’re giving the pep talk about – SHARE IT with them. We all have valuable pieces of knowledge stored in our minds. Pass on those pieces of wisdom, if you have them. Sharing knowledge is truly a beautiful thing.
  • Highlight their strengths, especially the ones they might not necessarily see. Sometimes, other people have a better view on what we’re good at than we do!
  • Know when to stop talking. Pep talks aren’t meant to go on forever. If you keep ranting and embellishing, you’ll come off as being less credible.
  • Know when it’s time to listen. A Pep talk doesn’t have to be a one-sided conversation. As people, sometimes we just need to unload our worries on someone we trust.

Giving a Boss Pep Talk doesn’t have to be hard.

Don’t get yourself too riled up about giving a pep talk. Trust your instincts and your knowledge of the person. Personalizing a pep talk is key to truly getting your point across and being motivational!

Stick to these basic tips and you’ll be sure to fire up anyone who is in need of an awesome, boss pep talk! We all need that little push sometimes and a pep talk is one of the best ways to light that fire inside someone whose light is waning.

I hope this was helpful for anyone looking to give out a pep talk! Let me know what you think in the comments and please share 🙂


Krissy October is a professional freelance writer, aspiring novelist and knowledge nerd who is dedicated to consistent self-improvement and finding clever ways to solve everyday problems.


  1. Such great advice! Thank you so much sharing!!

    • You’re welcome, Denise 🙂 I’m so glad you liked it!

  2. I love how you have broken these tips down! This is a very helpful post. Thank you! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Sherry 🙂 I’m glad it was helpful!

  3. I love this! It’s such great advice. My friend recently joined me in the entrepreneurial world so knowing how to guide her through her journey is important to me. I will definitely be using these tips. Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome Katie! I’m glad you fond it helpful! It’s so great to support the people we care about 🙂

  4. I really enjoyed this list, very well thought out. Finding the right kind of motivation is huge. Pushing the wrong buttons could have the opposite effect and alienate.

    • Exactly! Gauging the situation is paramount to a pep talk having the right impact 🙂

  5. These are great tips, thanks for sharing!

  6. So many great tips for giving the perfect pep talk. I love the mention of using pop cultural references. It’s something my friends and co-workers have used in the past to inspire.

    • Thanks Blythe! I find that using pop culture references really helps amp up the motivation 🙂

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