I recently got a call from a company who was looking to hire a motivational speaker. The current stumbling block was deciding whether this speaker should be male or female.
I used to have an assistant who couldn't take criticism in any form. No matter how I would spin it, she would get defensive and the backlash could last for days.
As a motivational speaker, I love the Toastmasters' method to deliver feedback. Toastmasters teaches you to evaluate a speaker by layering positive feedback with opportunity for improvement followed by positive feedback again. Overall this feedback strategy works well- unless you are dealing with my assistant. She was onto my motivational strategies and wouldn't take it. Any opportunity to improve could never penetrate her wall of indifference.
Here is a feedback strategy that helped her finally take responsibility...
I had to catch her in a mistake, rewind, go through what had happened step by step and help her recognize her contribution to the error. I didn't point fingers or assign blame, but facts are facts. Overall, mistakes happen for a reason, so I pointed them out over and over until she recognized her part in the problem.
Results were subtle at first, but eventually certain behavior patterns reversed and her productivity improved. Given her cynical personality, positive feedback backfired as she assessed it as motivational hogwash. I cut the feedback and built a case on facts.
As a motivational speaker I prefer to work with an inspired, positive and fun staff, whose values are in line with mine. When we cut our ties a couple of years later, she was one of my most productive assistants.
Dealing with difficult people is a continuous process of give and take. Most people have some difficult qualities, and it's a matter of searching for common ground and agreeing to work out issues in a straight forward, proactive way.
I was a generational speaker at an HR Leadership Conference where they hosted a panel discussing the factors that cause people to quit their jobs. All the typical morale busting qualities apply... you should quit your job when you feel a lack of respect and appreciation, when you can make more money elsewhere, when you hate your boss, etc.
Last week I watched a corporate guest speaker present her signature keynote speech. She had a well thought out message - and a high pitched, nasally, unbelievably irritating voice.
How Are You Perceived as a Leader?
A large part of a conference budget is the motivational keynote speaker. Finding sponsorship for this can be a big stress relief.
Last weekend I was a closing humorous motivational speaker for the Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute in Banff Alberta.
I have been a professional speaker for over 12 years. Having presented at over 1000 events, I definitely find some meetings more memorable than others. Here are some of the things that I have noticed make an event stand out...
The venue. Often in harder to reach places, unique venues in the middle of nowhere feature great team building activities like hiking and horseback riding. Beautiful guest rooms, nice restaurants, and state of the art meeting space can make the difference between a blah event and a memorable one.
The events. Opening receptions are key to kick off a meeting. With great music, appetizers, fun cocktails and lively conversation, meeting delegates are sure to loosen up and build rapport. Evening banquets featuring an after dinner speaker, a band and dancing will create great rapport and warm memories with delegates.
Help employees push past boredom, boost morale and develop a rich imagination by facilitating a corporate innovation session!
We are camping in Illecillewaet BC this week, and because I am a motivational speaker for safety events, my radar is on the safety aspects of camping.
Here is a list of some of the Stupid Things Campers Do to jeopardize their lives, their well being, and their good time:
Use gasoline to start a fire. It is an explosive...
Built by BC Hydro, these five generators at Revelstoke dam site supply electricity to approximately 800,000 homes. It took a workforce of nearly 3,000 people eight years to build.
Basically hydro-electricity is created by taking the force of gravity and water falling from high elevations and converting it to energy. It's that simple (after you add in about 100 steps in-between the water falling from high elevations to electricity in the home) to process the energy and make it available to homes throughout British Columbia. Hydroelectric dams are one of the cleanest ways we have to generate electricity. They produce significantly less greenhouse gas emissions per gigawatt hour than fossil fuel sources such as natural gas diesel or coal.
When I was a speaker for a utility company a few years back I saw another speaker who used charts and diagrams to illustrate energy conservation concepts, and the whole theory was lost on me. Nothing is as amazing as actually touring the facility. It clarifies the entire process. BC Hydro employees play a valuable role in conserving the environment and providing clean energy.
I am hired to be a funny motivational speaker for another utility company in May, so where is the humor in all of this? Stay tuned!
Read our Blog, Motivational speaker wrestles with a Tough Corporate Crowd
As a keynote speaker for an HR conference, we discussed the qualities of the 'best employee.' A lively and engaging discussion evolved, and the following profile was the result.
When I was a motivational speaker for a corporate conference recently, leadership gave me a very icy reception. Rampant change was taking place. Leadership clearly hadn't evolved and those in the seats of power were being put to the test. I could tell there was a power struggle going on and I wanted nothing to do with it.
I was hired as a closing keynote speaker for the Arizona credit union league last month, where the opening motivational speaker was Mark Arnold, president of on the Mark Strategies.
I was a guest speaker at an insurance conference where they had hired a magician for the after dinner entertainment. He was witty, engaging - and very hard to hear. The room set up wasn't conducive to his performance. The lighting didn't do him justice. The sound system wasn't loud enough to drown out the talking in the back of the room. It was an open bar, and many delegates had too much to drink to pay attention. The room was set up theatre style, with chairs up front and tables to stand around at the back of the room. The people at the back of the room couldn't hear, so they gave up and engaged in their own private conversations, further distracting from the show. It was a real shame to see his talent, invested in by the sponsors and well worth the expenditure, go to waste.