What makes a great motivational speaker? How can you tell the difference between “great” and “cheesy”? Even more importantly, are motivational speakers still relevant? Whether you are a meeting planner organizing events or an individual who searches the internet for daily inspiration (and you may be both), the very fact that many thousands of professional speakers describe themselves as “motivational” means that the term is still highly pertinent, both in business and in life. Conference organizers still seek out motivational speakers who can stimulate thought and provide attendees with actionable, practical take-aways. A Google search reveals almost 4,000,000,000 keyword results for “motivational speakers”. However, not all motivational speakers are created equal.
So, how can you tell whether a motivational speaker is the “real deal”?
Myth: All motivational speakers are “cheesy”
To categorize all motivational speakers as “cheesy” is a gross generalization. Unfortunately, and as you undoubtedly find in almost every profession under the sun, there are individuals who aren’t genuine, who misrepresent themselves and who give his or her industry a bad name.
Truth: Great Motivational Speakers have a proven track record
Speaker bureau owners, associations and corporate event planners who book speakers for a living would attest to the fact that their clients prefer to hire seasoned professionals. Experienced speakers have demonstrated exceptional platform skills, can deliver relevant content pertaining to pressing business or work challenges and are renowned for their expertise on a particular topic.
Myth: Motivational speakers are “sharks” who take advantage of people
There are many speakers who have succeeded because of their talent, brand and demand for their specific message. Regrettably, there are also individuals in many walks of life who exploit those who are vulnerable or looking for a “quick fix”. To say that all are tarred with the same brush is an inaccurate depiction of the majority of motivational speakers.
Truth: There are thousands of motivational speakers but many lack business acumen
It’s wonderful when you discover your passion and work doesn’t feel like work. However, passion alone won’t sustain you. It’s no different for motivational speakers. Many aspire to achieve success and possess the essential attributes to connect with an audience. However, the business of speaking necessitates honing the fundamentals, such as accounting, marketing, branding, selling, and acquiring clients, in other words, maintaining a profitable enterprise.
Myth: Motivational Speakers are all “hype”
For the naysayers and motivational speaker “haters” (yes, they do exist!), the word “motivational” connotes images of “rah-rah” speakers, delivering meaningless platitudes to the masses. The speaking profession has evolved considerably as audiences are more discerning and clients expect an impactful, engaging presentation experience. A speaker who is all “hype” and lacks substance is unlikely to succeed.
Truth: The ability to inspire and motivate an audience is a sought-after skill
A professional motivational speaker is hired for a multitude of reasons. Many organizations recognize the importance of investing in a speaker’s expertise in order to stay ahead of the curve. There is great demand for speakers who can address today’s business challenges regarding leadership, technology, the well-being of our workforce, attracting and retaining talent, diminishing customer loyalty and managing change, just to name a few. A motivational speaker who can energize, inform and keep an audience engaged in the age of distraction will remain in demand for the foreseeable future.