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Thoughts on Hiring a Speaker

TOP 5 Mistakes When Hiring a Motivational Speaker

As a motivational speaker, I work to improve the individual and group outlook within many realms, including wellness, work-life balance, stress management and workplace productivity. Many people out there claim to be an expert motivational speaker, but they simply don’t deliver. Here are some things to look out for when hiring a speaker for your event, as well as what not to expect from me.

1.           Hiring someone who is an expert on paper, but not on stage.

Speaking and writing are not the same skills.  Some of my heroes in health science, wellness and fitness are amazing thinkers, thought leaders and writers, but are snore inducing speakers.

Core Concept: No one was ever bored into living healthier.

2.            Providing a “Canned” Speech or Program.

I sat in on a presentation where the speaker encouraged the group to take 10,000 steps a day.  Great suggestion, but the audience works in a warehouse and were already measured to average 21,000 steps a day.  The attendees were worried they were getting their hours cut! As author and motivational speaker John C. Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Core Concept: The top 3 rules for successful professional speaking are: 1. Know your audience. 2. Know your audience.  3. Know your audience.

3.            Choosing a speaker who is information focused versus direction focused.

Informing, or worse, lecturing people on what they already know they should be doing will turn people off faster than tofu turkey on Thanksgiving.  Awareness campaigns only work when the people are unaware.  What inspires and engages people is solid, doable steps for how change can happen in their specific work and lives.

Core Concept: Direction beats information seven days a week.

4.            Leading with slides and statistics instead of stories.

Don’t get me wrong, I love research and reference a LOT in my presentations.  I ascribe to the belief that, “In God we trust, but everyone else must bring data.” But, you need to lead with stories and relatable examples that give people hope before they will open their mind to doing the “how tos,”much less being interested in the supporting data.

Core Concept: Great presentations provide quality supporting data, but only after they have caught the attention and hope of the audience.

5.            Hiring someone who is “Annoyingly Motivated.”

“If they can do it, maybe I can too,” are the nine most inspiring words you could ever get an audience to think. They should be the goal of every good motivational speaker.  But, there is some skill involved in inspiring people to think this.

99% of the time, telling someone who hasn’t exercised in quite some time that, “I’ve ran ten marathons this year and so can you!” will actually inspire them to want pizza and beer for lunch.  People who live a healthy way of life often feel so good that they often want to tell everyone they know to that they too can do it.  I get it, and I encourage this with all my audiences, but…

Core Concept: Moderation in all things, especially when it comes to encouraging the currently unmotivated.


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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