Motivational Speaker – Are You REALLY Motivating?

I received some astonishing information. Many renowned motivational speakers are legendary in their minds only. I’m sorry to disappoint you. Nonetheless, it’s probably something you’ve thought after a great number of hours of listening to mind numbing motivational speeches. As a motivational speaker, I hear many speakers drone on about how skilled they are. After I see them perform, I wonder what they consider ‘good’. Certainly, most of us can’t be relied on to be critics of our own competence. Neither are our friends and family members. We also can’t trust those sugary people in our audiences who really like everyone and are simply happy to be alive – or the ones who don’t have the heart to inform you that your speech was as motivating as oral surgery. Applause isn’t always an indicator of success. Who hasn’t seen an instance where one passionate person can begin a chain reaction standing ovation. The next question isn’t for the weak hearted. If you would like to be a motivational speaker, at some point, to have to determine if you really motivate. DO YOU MOTIVATE YOUR AUDIENCE? Are you giving your audience a return on their investment?
I am not speaking to trainers. I’m targeting what I have to say at motivational speakers. You know — the folks who sell the life-changing experience. Trainers are evaluated mostly on the knowledge that they transfer, although presentation is also important. Keynote motivational speakers are hired to deliver a presentation that renders the audience breathless. Their content is important, but secondary to the show. Whether you get any spin off bookings will depend on your presentation.

Ok, we’re back to the question “how do you identify if you are motivating your audience?” Are they battling through a crowd right after your speech to get your business card? Are people clamoring to hire you after your presentation? Is the meeting planner beaming, hugging you after the show because you made her look so good. If they ask you back again or tell others about you. You could consider all of these things good indications that you followed through on your promises.

A principle I like to always keep in mind – the 80/10/10 rule: Ten percent will always love you, ten percent will turn their noses up at you, and eighty percent will wait and give you a chance. Concern yourself with that eighty percent. Ask yourself, “have you connected with that 80%?” Take solace – nobody connects with everyone all of the time.

Consider in advance what emotional reaction you anticipate from your audience. What you would like them to think. What kind of response system are you using for your presentation? Evaluations? Surveys? Start writing their comments down when you get back to the hotel. Sit up and take notice of reviews.

Keep in mind that excited accolades after a speech don’t invariably convert into long term learning. Just because the audience gushes over how knowledgeable you are doesn’t mean they were in love with your presentation. Having them compliment your breakout session, doesn’t mean they’ll like you as a keynote speaker. And the worst response you can get from a customer: Well, how do you think you did? If your customer smiles tactfully and avoids eye contact, you have a problem.

What can you do when your program didn’t do what you wanted? Reserve a card board box under the interstate. Say you’re sorry. Give the client their dough back. Determine if the complaints are legitimate, and learn from the experience.

In tough times, when you get bad evaluations or you wonder why you’re doing this – pull out those letters you got where people told you what an impact you made. They will remind you of the times you got it right. If you don’t have any, well, maybe it’s time to take an honest look at yourself. Don’t be discouraged. None of us starts out great. Shoot, many of us don’t even start out good. It takes time. Now get back to work.


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