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What Can A Motivational Speaker Bring To Your Event?

25 Jul Posted by in Business | Comments

When I tell people I’m a motivational speaker, I see one of two expressions: “Wow! Cool! Tell me more!” or “You’ve got to be kidding. Go out and get a real job!” Unfortunately, there are a lot of motivational speakers out there who give motivational speakers a bad name, for reasons I won’t go into. And there are even more people out there who view motivation as “fluff” and not necessary to the conference experience. “We don’t care how they feel – just give them the information.”

I guess they don’t realize that all the information in the world is useless if your audience isn’t motivated to use it – encouraged to change – empowered to move forward. Motivation is tied into attitude, and having the right attitude is the key ingredient to success. Motivating people is a skill, even an art – and not every speaker has it. But every audience needs it.

When I spoke recently to the Louisiana National Guard, we had a debriefing session following the program and I was given the honor of being told, in person, by my client, the many ways that my program helped them with their conference experience and what they needed to accomplish.

Here was the direct feedback:

1. You were highly entertaining. They had a ball. You reached everybody – even the stiff ones with crossed arms who were forced to be there and were intent on not enjoying it. Within minutes you had them laughing. Many who didn’t want to be there told me how glad they were that they came.

(Note: People remember that kind of experience, and therefore remember your conference and go tell their friends about it, and sign up for next year. For those of you who struggle with low conference attendance, this is a biggie.)

2. It was so different. You kept the attention of the audience the entire time – which is amazing since you did four one-hour sessions. You never lost us for a minute.

(Note: That’s the whole reason the tagline of my business is “Stand Up and Stick Out Because Nobody Notices Normal.” It’s true – people don’t remember better; they remember different.)

3. It was relevant to us.  We could tell you took the time to get to know us and what our life is like. We knew you were talking to us, and about us. And that really made a difference.

(Note: Audiences can tell when you give them the same speech you gave the funeral home association the day before. You don’t earn the right to give them advice until you earn the right to give them advice. One of the fastest ways to do that is to learn about your group and speak to their issues.)

4. It primed them for the breakout sessions – broke down their defenses and barriers – got them talking – broke the ice. That made our job so much easier when we had to split into breakout sessions and roll up our sleeves and get to work. It was then easy to get them talking and interacting and sharing. They were already comfortable around each other.

(Note: This is the power in laughter and storytelling. It did bond us as a group. When I shared my stories, in a way we were all sharing stories – laughing together – realizing the common ground we all shared. Defenses were broken down and they were now ready to receive truths.)

5. They kept coming back.  Our numbers were up, and stayed up. Usually we see a decline in attendance as the conference progresses – this time, there was an increase – they wanted to come see you again. We actually saw consistent full attendance the whole conference. It was a good idea of have you start, do two sessions in the middle, and close. We are trying to raise the level of this conference – and you were the secret ingredient.

(Note: When will meeting planners realize that breakout sessions aren’t a draw. That people want motivation and humor more than they want content. Every time I do a breakout session on humor or motivation, it’s usually standing room only. Don’t tell me that’s just fluff.)

6. They loved your characters and their stories– you gave them something different that each person could connect to. If one story didn’t reach them, another one did.

(Note: A good motivational speaker knows that it’s not the content that sells – it’s how you wrap the content – and there is no more powerful tool than a well-told story. While my stories were about strangers – they really weren’t. The story of mamma being painted on black velvet became the story of their mothers. One gentleman had to leave the room because he was so overcome with emotion at remembering his own mother. That’s the power of a story.)

7. You cared about them, and it showed. You were so real and compassionate, that they wanted to tell you their stories, share their lives with you.

(Note: Good motivational speakers know that this isn’t about the speaker – this is about the audience. A good motivational speaker helps them heal – listens to them – whispers in their ear that they can do this.)


If I had any question before about the value of motivational speakers, I don’t now. The reviews are in, and many attendees found me to be the highlight of the conference – the one thing they liked most – some even saying it was worth the entire price of admission. I hear this wherever I go – in the comments, the evaluations, the letters and emails I receive afterwards.


I’d like to think that’s all a reflection of the job I did – but I know better. It’s really a reflection of how much they need to be encouraged and motivated. It’s really a reflection of the value that a good motivational speaker can bring to your event. It’s not so much a question of whether you can afford to have a motivational speaker – but whether you can afford not to.

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