Drop the sugar coating and try honesty.
Watch the captains on “Deadliest Catch” motivate their crews toward the end of a long hard season. They almost never start off with anything but an accurate description of the situation. “The weather S–ks, the crab are hiding, your tired, I’m tired, G-d only knows why we are here in such sh–ty conditions” etc. Next they emphasize the obvious. “But we are here and we have a job to do and nothing is going to change that.” Then they present a plan “So here is what we are going to do. We’re going to this spot and drop these pots and pull these others and you will get maybe 3 hours sleep at most over the next 48 hours but it is what is and this is how we deal with it.” They include with hopeful but realistic projections. “I’m not saying this will completely salvage the season but it will give us the best chance to finish strong, go home with our heads held high and maybe put some money in our pockets.” They usually close with a direct challange “So you need to decide if you are or are not crab fisherman because I am not turning this boat around until we fill the tanks and we don’t have room on board for passangers.”
In short, they violate just about every rule of feel good inpirational speaking while motivating their crews to herculean efforts that usually produce very impressive results.