After a financial conference speech I gave this afternoon on controlling social media data exposure, an executive asked me how long I’d been giving motivational keynote speeches.
My jaw dropped at the reference… “Motivational keynote speeches?”, I asked. “I’ve never really thought of myself as a motivational speaker. I’m more of a content speaker who focuses your organization on playing information offense… using and protecting information to your profitable advantage.” Yeah, I know, sounds like an elevator speech. It was.
The executive then explained his remarks in a very thoughtful way. He said that his organization had stopped hiring traditional “fluffy motivational speakers” when the economy went south, and now only hires content-rich speakers who motivate the audience to take action in a very specific area of need. If he and the rest of the audience came out of the speech ready to take action and clear on what steps to take next, then they referred the speech as motivational. “Every speaker we hire had better be motivational,” he said, “but that’s a given. We bring in a keynoter for their content, and they’d better bring their inspirational A-game as part of the package.”
His point is a good one. Motivation is not about giving individuals in the audience the motivation to do everything they need to do – work smarter, sell more, exercise, be a better person, give back to their community, live with integrity, etc., it’s about getting them to do what you need them to do. The average corporation doesn’t have the kind of resources necessary to take broadly motivational brush strokes (self-help), and even the best speakers can’t accomplish so much change in just an hour. The end game isn’t to make an audience of generically motivated attendees, but to motivate them to take very specific steps toward a worthy cause (and one that you have defined). In my case, the cause was to help audience members understand some of the risks and rewards inherent in social networking technology, mobile data access and cloud computing. That they considered my speech to be motivational is gravy; that they learned something and have concrete next steps to take when the conference is over – well, that’s just my job.
Watch John Sileo in action (above), listen to audience testimonials (left), learn more about content-rich motivational keynote speeches, or read about his personal experiences with data theft and how they lead him down the keynote speaking path and into the conference rooms of the Department of Defense, FDIC, Pfizer Homeland Security and others.