Can a Keynote speech really make a difference?

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This morning one of my favorite people said, “Andy, I know you prefer to do Keynote speeches, but seriously, what can be accomplished in a one hour speech?  Shouldn’t you focus be on delivering your ideas in a workshop format where you can give people more meat and less fluff?”

I understand his feeling.  I’ve attended terrible Keynote speeches that left me with little to do or even think about afterward.  I have also attended Keynotes that I reflect upon almost daily.

Six years ago I attended a speech by Larry Winget, “The Pitbull of Personal Development.”  He was hilarious.  At the time, because it was so funny, I discounted the presentation as purely entertainment.  Little did I know that I would be thinking about his speech ever since.  During the presentation he said, “If you life sucks, it’s because you suck.”

Every time I am not getting what I want from life, those 8 words pop into my mind.  Anytime I start to think that my current situation is not my fault, I cannot escape those 8 words.  The truth is those 8 words have motivated me to accomplish more professionally and personally than the 11 workbooks in my bookshelf that I received from multiple day workshops. What is the value of taking personal responsibility for your situation no matter the circumstances?

Last week at the National Speakers Association annual convention, I had the honor of hearing Nando Parrado, one of the survivors of the famous Uruguayan plane crash of 1972.  They crashed in an environment often colder than -27 degrees F.  At this temperature, the average human can survive for 24-72 hours.  Parrado and many of his teammates survived for 72 days.  What is the value of you believing that you can do far more than you ever thought possible?  He also mentioned many times that it would have been far easier to lie down and die.  What kept him going was that he wanted to see his father’s face, that he wanted to have a life, a wife and a family.  What is the value of having a family and renewing your commitment to them?

Five years ago I attended a Keynote program by Jim Stovall.  Less than 15 minutes into his speech I had already learned and relearned more than I had during the previous three full days of the conference.  He described how he lost his sight and overcame that disadvantage to later win an Emmy, a gold medal in weightlifting and built a record braking company that truly serves humankind.  As he said, “you do not have to have sight to see,” I started to see what is really possible in my life.  I saw the barriers in my life for what they truly were, very small speed bumps.  What is the value of a clearer and brighter perspective on what is possible for you?

This morning, in response to my skeptical friend, I was able to recount the above examples.  He then asked me, “Well, what do you do for your audiences?”  Simply, I help people answer one question, “Why do I not do what I know I should?”  What would happen in your life or business if you overcame the obstacles sabotaging your motivation and started doing more of what really counts?

Concise and motivating messages have made a profound and measurable difference in my life.  What about you?  Has a Keynote presentation made a difference in your life?



Andy Core is a credentialed, award-winning thought leader on increasing employee engagement, productivity, and wellness motivation. His talent lies in helping hard-working, conscientious adults thrive at work and in their personal lives.

Andy also wrote the book Change Your Day, Not Your Life, a guide to sustained motivation and more productivity.

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Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
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About Andy Core
Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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