The Two Essentials Every Planner Wants When You Hire Motivational Speakers
When eventprofs and meetingprofs look up “motivational speakers,” what are they really looking for?
This is from a meeting planner who recently found and hired me…
“We just looked up ‘Motivational Speakers,’ and there you were!”
What if “There you are!” isn’t enough? What are you really looking for?
It’s just two things, and they’re must haves! Meeting planners I have known tell me it all comes down to just two must-have things:
The person who hired the speaker relaxes the first time the speaker makes the audience laugh.
Laughter means the audience is engaged.
The meeting planner glows when audience members leave with a memorable and actionable point or two.
A “takeaway” means the audience has gained actionable assets, resources, and something to help them change and grow.
Two intangible but incredible gifts are offered by motivational speakers:
- The first gift is hope.
They need to hear in my message that it’s too soon to give up, that they can face whatever is their dragon and know they have a fighting chance. They need a breath of fresh air, revival, and inspiration.
They need to hear that others, including myself, have been in dire circumstances, that they are not alone in facing life’s battles, and that they can do more than survive … they can SOAR!
- The second gift is tools.
The takeaway is more than inspiration.
The takeaway is more than a pithy saying.
The takeaway is more than a fluffy meme.
The takeaway is a powerful weapon!
You want your audience to say:
“Yes, there’s hope! And here are the TOOLS I will use!”
Like after my speech about expecting The Unexpected and my story about engine failure in a 6-passenger, single-engine airplane, 5,000′ off the ground … someone said,
“Just the message I was needing to hear today. My ‘unexpected’ list is larger than my ability to cope. I can remember ‘Aviate, Navigate, Communicate’.”
As serious as all that sounds, good motivational speakers know that the best package in which to deliver all that to the listener is:
wrapped in interesting stories and ribboned in humor.
For example, here’s a story with a point ….
My Undefeated Year in Wrestling
In a high school room full of juniors and seniors, I tell the story of my undefeated year in wrestling at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, Washington, when I was a junior. I describe being a scrawny, 6’3”, 160 lb, grew-too-fast beanpole (at the time … I’ve filled out since).
My classmate and current opponent is on the mat in our wrestling workout gym. I call him Short Hulk.
It’s Thursday afternoon. I am a newbie wrestler, inexperienced, cautious, nervous. Because … I have challenged Short Hulk, the current junior varsity wrestler in the 160 lb weight class. I’d like a shot at my first inter-school competition against Sedro Wooley High School on Friday.
I take the mat.
Coach blows his whistle. I grab Short Hulk’s wrists. He grabs mine. I pull. He pulls back. I pull harder. He pulls harder. I pull really, really hard. He pulls really, really hard.
And I let go.
In classic Laurel and Hardy fashion, Short Hulk falls flat on his back. I land crossways on his chest and, even though he is a more experienced wrestler than me, he can not escape my 6-foot wingspan. Pinned, he loses, and I will wrestle for Meadowdale tomorrow night.
But there are glitches. I am actually one pound overweight. Yikes! I have less than 24 hours to lose the excess pound.
In the story that follows, I describe the fasting, the dehydration, the hot showers, and how I barely make it down to 160 lbs on our school scales.
I describe the dark, hour-long bus ride to Sedro Wooley … and the next, frightening glitch. My mind goes blank.
The referee’s scale has me a hair over 160. Apparently he thinks I will be an interesting splat on the mat, and lets me wrestle anyway.
I wobble out of the locker room and to our row of cold, hard, metal folding chairs lined up on one side of the mat, opposite the Sedro Wooley chairs.
As the matches progress, weight by weight, I have no idea who is winning or losing. I am about to face my first public opponent.
I’m weak, hungry, and dehydrated. My brain has gone blank. I will most certainly be a splat on the mat.
In the middle of the gym floor, with fans in the bleachers to my left, I count up our row of wrestlers on my left. Then I count up the Sedro Wooley wrestlers in the row of chairs on the opposite side of the mat to size up my opponent. “Size up” … good choice of words!
The guy I apparently will wrestle is much bigger than me! Plus, he appears well-fed, watered, muscled, and experienced
Finally the announcer’s voice, “Will the 160 lb wrestler from Meadowdale please take the mat.”
I lift my beanpole frame and my empty brain from the chair, and I wobble to the center of the mat, face the bleachers and the crowd, the referee to my right.
I have taken the mat.
Then … “Will the 160 lb wrestler from Sedro Wooley please take the mat.”
Seconds pass. I will most certainly, in a matter of moments, be a 6’3” splat on the mat.
Again, “Will the 160 lb wrestler from Sedro Wooley please take the mat!”
More seconds pass.
I can see it, feel it coming. Knees knocking. Stomach empty and brain blank.
What I hear next, I will never forget. The opponent coach called out: “He didn’t qualify!”
The referee takes my right hand, lifts it high in the air, and I … I am the winner!! I do not go splat on the mat. I return to my hard, cold, metal folding chair … the winner!
From then on, Short Hulk wrestled all the remaining inter-school matches, so I did not wrestle another school again.
And that’s how I had an undefeated year in wrestling. (My audience groans. Heads shake. They laugh.)
Today, in the trophy case at Meadowdale High School, there is no trophy with my name on it. No nameplate for records set. Nothing to show that I was ever there. But I have under my belt, a win … and an undefeated year in wrestling!
There is a point. A light bulb to turn on.
I ask, “What are you most afraid of?” Face your fear! Take the mat!
Because you don’t know if what you’re most afraid of will even show up!
Without fail, kids’ heads nod as they start to see the point:
Face your fear. Take the mat.
I tell my high school audience about Teddy Roosevelt’s speech, Paris, 1910. It’s the famous Man in the Arena speech.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, …
“… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
What are you afraid of? Set your face like a flint. Take the mat!
Face your fear. Be the one in the arena. Take the mat!
If you win, you’ll know the triumph of high achievement. So take the mat!
If you lose, at least you will have dared greatly, and your place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
What are you afraid of?
Face your fear.
Take the mat!
Takeaways for eventprofs and meetingprofs:
For the best engagement between your audience and your speaker:
- Hire a speaker with a sense of humor
- Hire a speaker who can tell a story, and make a point with it.
Hire a humorous speaker who delivers great, memorable takeaways that benefit your audience.
Please share YOUR insights!
P.S. For an “Oh, there you are!” motivational speaker:
- read the testimonials
- watch the videos
- contact the author at DennisBauer.com.
- email Dennis@DennisBauer.com
- call Dennis toll-free at 855-734-7411
You want to do more than survive. You want to SOAR!
Aviate • Navigate • Communicate