I have to say that I consider myself to be an extremely reasonable person regarding expectations and demands. So, when I attended one conference when the star of the evening was supposed to be one well-known motivational speaker, I didn’t expect much. I like to hear some interesting life experiences and a few applicable conclusions. That’s it. I don’t expect or hope to change my life and begin to earn like never before as soon as I get home after I just heard a thing or two from some motivational speaker, no matter how he or she may be influential or successful. When you end up totally disappointed and emotionally exhausted despite your realistic expectations, then you know that something went deeply wrong with the so-called motivational speaker’s show.
Am I the only one to think that the modern motivational speakers are more like professional entertainers than people with that magical spark to change and inspire people around them. The catch is that it has become much better for me to attend some music festival where a pop star can say a thing or two of zen wisdom, and I will feel better and more importantly learn more than attending the classic motivational speaker’s event. Nowadays, the motivational speakers all over the world worry more about how they look than what they have to say and share. In a way, motivational speakers are indeed part of the entertaining industry in the general sense, but hey, let’s not take the things here quite literally. OK? What’s the purpose, if at the end of the day, you entertain rather than to motivate and inspire people? Right?
Just to make sure I have nothing personal against the modern motivational speaker. For what is worth, I have a criterion I use to tell a difference between the entertainers and the genuine motivational speakers. Here it is. You don’t have to necessarily agree with it, but I dare you to try on the next motivational speaker you plan to hear or follow. So, I think that a motivational speaker who is dominantly an entertainer are people who have built their careers and names for this activity alone. Meaning, they are professional motivational speakers who have always been motivational speakers and they don’t have anything else to show you and be proud of. On the other side, you have people who are genuine motivational speakers because they had successful careers in some other field prior this one, such as sports, movies, politics, etc. These guys have achieved something amazing or experienced some extraordinary events in their lives, which allowed them to gain some unique experiences they can share with others.
Here’s one positive example for a change. I attended a business forum sponsored by a large telecommunication network. They hired a former football star as its representative and a motivational speaker. So, this guy who could barely make a step without giving and signing at least a dozen of autographs was surprisingly down to earth person. He used an opportunity to show us the importance of the teamwork by talking about a real life event that took place in a locker room during one well-known and an important game. It was great to hear a true story as a part of the first-hand experience. So, these guys had the moment of truth with their coach, just like you could have seen it in the movies. They eventually won this important game. But my point is that we all had a feeling that we were actually there in that locker room with this football star. He was so emotional and persuasive that it is hard to describe with words.
That was a genuine motivational speaker at work. You could see by the way he moves and the way he was dressed that night that he couldn’t possibly care less about his appearance. Yet, when he talked, you can clearly see tears in his eyes. He was going through that emotional experience all over again with all the people in the conference room. So, we had no reason to doubt his presentation nor his genuine experience. When you compare this former football star and the so-called motivational speaker entertainer from the beginning of my story, then you realize how different they really are. If your biggest achievement is a book you wrote about motivation and similar, and then you make money by promoting it all over the world, I can’t and will never accept you as a genuine motivational speaker.
What are your thoughts about motivational speakers? What does it take for a person to be accepted and acknowledged by you as a genuine motivational speaker? Do you have a respect for the so-called entertainers-motivational-speakers or you accept this phenomenon as a part of the showbiz industry?
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