A motivational speaker is only as good as his success. If you hire someone who speaks well but has their finances, personal life and their company in a bad state, you’re setting up your audience for a bad example.
So I went ahead and listed down the things you need to check before finally deciding to take on a motivational speaker for your event.
Important things that a good motivational speaker possess:
You don’t want your audience to fall asleep during the talk. One obvious clue that the speaker cares about his presentation is his Powerpoint deck. If the Powerpoint deck is well designed, there’s a high probability that the speaker takes the stage seriously. Motivational speaking is a privilege, not a career.
At the end of the day, it’s not about money. It’s about passion and it’s about the mission to inspire people.
That’s arguably why the best motivational speakers are those who have jobs or businesses to support their main livelihood.
Concrete, Actionable Life Lessons Derived from the Speaker’s Past or Present
A good motivational speaker has a story to tell. Motivating and inspiring people is not all about teaching, rather it’s about empathizing and understanding. People fail and the best motivational speakers out there have known how it really is to be at the end of the rope.
This makes up an enjoyable and realistic case study for the audience. Listening to the speaker’s personal story on failure, getting back up, grinding and succeeding is the meat of what would get them going where they are in life.
This is also arguably the best inspiration for your audience to take home
A Happy Family and a Successful Career or Business
There is no real reason to speak in front of a crowd hungry to be inspired when you are down in the mud – struggling or even failing in your family, career or business. Someone who is in trouble shouldn’t be on the stage.
“Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” – Proverbs 24:27
A good motivational speaker is someone who is successful in all aspects of his life and so he has the energy, wisdom and ability to bring others there.
I believe that Francis Kong, who, if we are to admit, is one of the most prominent and successful motivational speakers out there embodies this perfectly.
A Mission that is Bigger than Himself
If everything ends on the day we die, then all that there is in life is to eat, drink and be merry. In short, life will be all about money, fame and success. A motivational speaker who has that kind of a worldview will speak in terms of those things. And that’s a very dangerous and materialistic worldview to behold.
A motivational speaker who has a mission that is bigger than himself doesn’t see things that way. And if we’re going to be honest, the one main mission that a motivational speaker must have is to make a positive change in an individual’s life.
I’ve seen Francis Kong do it in his own personal time. He meets up with people who are having problems the size of suicidal tendencies and spends time with them. Motivating people doesn’t always have to be on stage. It is a lifestyle.
Testimonials from Other People About the Speaker
There’s no better way to verify a motivational speaker than testimonials from other people. Whether it is in the person’s website or otherwise. I posted a video that outlines some of the most influential speakers and authors in our time – I believe they already speak for me in my time and expertise as a motivational speaker.
A Central Point of Morality
I’ve seen a motivational speaker before who influenced the crowd to cheat. That’s just horrifying. I wanted to go on stage and point out that the speaker is not fit to be a motivational speaker and perhaps next time I would. As of that time, I was a co-speaker and I wanted to be respectful the stage and the organizers.
The point is, if the speaker’s central point of morality is unfounded, it could be dangerous for the audience. First check what the speaker really believes in and if your values coincide. Shared values are very important. It could be the dividing line between a motivated, inspired crowd who will wake up the next day and decide to do what’s right – and a confused crowd whose morals have been shaken.
In all, these are points that are easily missed by event organizers and HR personnel who are tasked to onboard a motivational speaker for their event. I hope that this provides a definite guide in how to choose a motivational speaker who will best fit your audience.
May God richly bless you.
Hearing and Watching Anthony Pangilinan talk was definitely time well spent. It was just last night when I found myself braving the crazy roads of Manila through Recto. I didn’t want to be late but the traffic and Google Maps was getting me nowhere.
It was my first time to step on The Bayleaf hotel near Intramuros. It was a simple hotel, nothing too fancy but it was definitely class.
I met with Anthony on the 3rd floor at the bar/restaurant area. He was practicing with a notebook filled with scribbles of his notes. It’s as if his notes were going to be gesturing with him towards the audience through the talk.
I sat down, opened my laptop to send a little something via email.
He was still murmuring words when he stopped to look at me and smiled.
It’s not uncommon for speakers like him and me to still be practicing and cramming minutes before the talk. We want to perfect it – to feel it all throughout. I find myself doing the same thing almost 100% of the time.
Anthony is not afraid to practice with his gestures. As his mouth murmurs, his hands wave around trying to speak what he wants to bring to the table.
A few minutes later and it was showtime.
We went to the session hall where there were around 50 people looking to hear him speak. Almost all of them in managerial position.
Anthony’s talk was about “How to Innovate yourself” which was a very interesting and generally useful topic.
As he went and started to speak, I took note of his speaking styles and strategies. Here’s what I found:
He is narrative and heavy on his personal story in the beginning of the talk so it’s easy for people to relate. The opening story was about his relay triathlon race with his family and how his son and daughter pushed him to level up his game. Consequently, they won the gold medal.
Anthony takes a funny approach to speaking. The people felt light the entire time because he also laughs naturally himself. And by naturally, I don’t mean a modest, respectful laugh. I mean a real laugh – as if he’s having a great time with his friends!
He uses the ‘tap the shoulder’ technique really well. I’ve noticed this strategy again and again in Francis Kong’s talks – apparently they both use it extensively and masterfully. This engages the audience with each other. It also makes the audience laugh – which is good because a laughing and cheerful audience is fertile soil that is ready to absorb the wisdom from your message.
He has packed, relevant stories and videos that he uses to inspire his audience.
He uses Etymology quite masterfully in the parts of his talk when he unveils the true origin and meaning of the word(s). Something I have yet to incorporate in my talks. He dissects the definition of the word(s) to emphasize its meaning in a different, overlooked perspective.
He uses gesture and voice tone really, really well. In fact, there’s a part in his talk when the mic wasn’t really near his mouth as he spoke because he was using his hands to emphasize a point. I found it a little unconventional but also brilliant.
His presentation style is still based on his notes mostly. He would go back to his notes once in a while to recall where he’s at. So his Powerpoint deck has more or less just 20 slides. I’m more of a Powerpoint based presentor so mine usually has over 70. I even have 130 slide deck because I rely on the combination of my Powerpoint’s visual design and my tone of voice and gesture for my audience’s memory retention rate to increase.
Anthony’s wrap-up, conclusion and exit was also satisfying. The only thing missing is a brilliant Powerpoint design – which we’re working on getting.
Overall, it’s a good learning experience even for me.
Now I’m thinking that I ought to listen to other speakers more often. Haha!