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Am I really a motivational speaker?

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Am I really a motivational speaker?

Am I really a motivational speaker?

I earn my living as a professional speaker. As the founder of Leadershift, an organisation dedicated to helping organisations to lead, serve and sell more effectively, I have had the opportunity of addressing audiences in many different countries. On many occasions, when first meeting the client at a conference, I am greeted with the customary statement “Aah, so you are the motivational speaker!”

For some reason, I am always uncomfortable being referred to as a motivational speaker. There is good reason for the feeling. Motivational speakers tend to have a bad reputation. Images of the high energy, ADD, energizer bunny, bouncing around the stage telling the audience how their life is about to be transformed in three simple steps, flash into my mind. It often appears as though the speaker has overdosed on red bull and is going through a mild convulsive fit. Typically the message has very little substance or no real content and relies on creating hype and hysteria, often through the use of music and exaggerated audience participation.

This may include being asked to stand up and high five the person standing next to you and then bear hugging the person behind you, while repeating various mantras. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for loving your neighbour, but when he looks like a rugby loose forward and just knocked out his buddy while high fiving him, then I am a little reluctant. This approach may work for some audiences, depending on the expectation or brief, but it often leaves many individuals feeling uncomfortable and feeling as though they are in the middle of a charismatic religious revival.

There is a very good argument that says if you have employed the right people, or as Jim Collins says you have the right bums on the right seats on the bus, then these individuals don’t need to be motivated, they are self motivated, passionate and focused. In the real world though, some statistics say that as many as 67% of people out there are in jobs they don’t want to be in. You can only imagine the levels of engagement and the value these people are adding to your business. Is a motivational speaker going to fix this problem? The answer is of course a resounding no.

Having said this though, the role of any speaker, whether you want to call yourself a business speaker, professional speaker or prefer to be referred to as an expert in a particular field, is to add value by sharing valuable information. My role is to impart knowledge, shift thinking, persuade and perhaps be a catalyst for change. If you break the word motivation in two you get the words motive and action. Motivation is thus a reason to take action and if the reason is not great enough or large enough we will not take action. No motivational speaker can  directly change another human being, but I have certainly been an audience member listening to a great speaker and a particular bit of information or shared knowledge has been the catalyst for me taking some kind of action or doing something differently.

Any good motivational speaker will incorporate the power of story. Words have power and can provoke change. In the words of Vera Nazarian, from Dreams of the compass rose –  “All stories have a curious and even dangerous power. They are manifestations of truth — yours and mine. And truth is all at once the most wonderful yet terrifying thing in the world, which makes it nearly impossible to handle. It is such a great responsibility that it’s best not to tell a story at all unless you know you can do it right. You must be very careful, or without knowing it you can change the world.”

So, am I really a motivational speaker? I guess I am. I use the power of story and of words to shift thinking and to inspire change. If you are looking for a business motivational speaker in South Africa, book me for your next event. You won’t get all the hype, but rather a well crafted, content rich, professional and entertaining presentation.

Book motivational speaker in Cape Town, South Africa – Eddie Botes – 081 305 5825

About the Author

Eddie Botes is a motivational speaker and trainer based in cape Town, South Africa. He is the founder of Leadershift, an organisation dedicated to inspiring and developing greatness in leaders, by providing world class training programs, entertaining and research packed presentations and state of the art profiling and assessment solutions.

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