Do companies need to hire a motivational speaker? The answer depends on your understanding of what motivational speakers can do – and your purpose for hiring one. Most companies hire motivational speakers because they’ve been doing that every year. Some hire speakers to motivate people, believing that the speaker can do something their leaders can’t do.
Almost every week, I get inquiries from people who desire to hire a motivational speaker. I entertain all of them. But not all of them can be my clients. Those who don’t have clear purposes are unlikely to be satisfied.
In this piece, I will answer your questions.
It is normal to look for help outside our organization if we can pay. Employee motivation is often blamed for performance problems. It is convenient. It is better than to think that the problem is the manager.
Marco is a good example.
Every year, Marco hires a Filipino motivational speaker to inspire his sales team. He said that he gets good results since he started hiring a motivational speaker five years ago.
He said his salespeople weren’t selling enough. So he hired a motivational speaker who talked about money magnets. Have you heard of it too?
He said they did some crazy stuff (I was not there), but it did not work. There were organizational changes. That must be the problem since people resist change.
So, they invited someone who talks about Embracing Change. After that, Marco hired speakers who spoke on Grit, Resilience, and Freedom.
For every productivity or performance problem, Marco’s company gets a motivational speaker.
There are improvements, but Marco still thinks it is a motivation problem. They will get another speaker who will talk on how to Succeed in the Next Normal.
Many business managers are like Marco. They have faith in the power of motivational speakers to solve their problems.
I am often invited to speak to motivate people. However, if I asked them why people are not motivated, I do not always get clear answers.
If only they explored other possible solutions. Motivational speakers aren’t miracle workers.
Performance suffers not only because of motivation. Leaders must consider ability. Performance suffers when employees cannot get the job done. Difficult work demotivates most people. Often, you only need to give people deliberate training.
Then, you have to consider peer pressure. People look around. If they work with complacent people, they don’t swim against the flow. Coaching and mentoring can help improve performance too. Mentors are motivators.
A motivational speaker is a mentor on stage. But most of them do not know your employees. So be clear about what you want to get good help.
Consider your environment. The place of work influences performance. Examine your rewards and recognition. Whatever you reward speaks of what you value.
Look into any of these before you get a motivational speaker.
If your goal isn’t clear, a motivational speaker can’t help you.
Connect corporate goals to individual ambitions. If there is no connection, the motivational speaker can only add noise.
Clarify, reinforce and amplify your intention, so your people pay attention. You cannot make people commit to something they do not know. If you want them to create the future, you’ve got to paint it first.
A motivational speaker cannot do that for you.
I am telling you this because I want you to become successful.
As a business owner, I handled a small number of employees who needed a daily bath of motivation. Motivating people goes beyond pep talks.
Before I became an entrepreneur, I was a teacher for more than nine years. I saw my teaching job as a seller of dreams. It was my job to sell students to themselves.
When I was a student activist, I honed my skill to deliver persuasive speeches. People do not always listen to logic. Thankfully, I was a seminarian for two years. It was there that I learned how to tell stories that build an emotional connection.
Emotions move people to action.
Help leaders achieve goals together.
You do not always need a motivational speaker to improve performance. There are other ways you can try first.
You may consider training, coaching, and mentoring. One I find compelling is to sit down with employees to listen.
Of course, you can combine getting a motivational speaker with other interventions.
You can have many goals, but don’t forget to include the two I will mention below. Some managers try to play safe by hiring the most prominent names though there is no problem-solution fit.
Here is the first goal: hire a motivational speaker to excite people about your organization’s most prominent dream.
They must fully understand what you and your people care about.
The dream must be yours from the very beginning. The speaker does not need to create a new one. You are the leader, and the speaker is your communicator.
The motivational speaker tells stories so people can relate to the heroes of his stories.
His stories provide you a vicarious experience.
His stories must persuade people that you are in the position to succeed.
He wants you to become successful, for only through your success do his words become meaningful.
The second goal is to introduce vital behaviors which will produce repeatable and scalable success.
You should have identified these behaviors even before you speak to any motivational speaker.
Pick 2 or 3 new behaviors that will create the future.
He must demonstrate clearly how the heroes in his stories committed themselves to these behaviors.
When they are that good, Motivational speakers must influence people to embrace a new set of behaviors and create them into habits.
No, he doesn’t have to make people walk on fire. So don’t fall into that trap.
People must learn new behaviors or actions on the job every day.
For example, to achieve 10x better, encourage people to
- Focus on the most important
- Act on it, and
- keep score.
Help motivational speakers succeed.
Tell him about your goals and the behaviors you want people to practice.
Any motivational speaker’s success is not measured by how much he earned for every speech he delivered.
His success measures are the number of people he pulled from complacency and the number of people he pushed to go beyond their limits.
You get a motivational speaker to push people over the edge.
You don’t make people motivated but give them the courage to make the first step to getting what they want.
And then the second, third, fourth…100th step.
Move people to action.
A motivational speaker moves people into action.
He tells stories that educate, encourage, and inspire. A motivational speaker helps us make forgotten dreams come back to life. That though we are in our darkest moment, we can choose to see the light. That though we are at rock bottom, we can choose to bounce forward.
Though we are where we are, we can turn our sufferings and struggles into success and happiness. We can celebrate a great life each day.
Some motivational speakers can make these happen.
But if you were to ask me, I can only tell you this:
A motivational speaker moves people to action.