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Motivational Speaker Blog

Top 10 Morale Boosters

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:52 PM

Boosting morale is not a one time shot. It takes time, effort and energy to keep an upbeat attitude.

Boost Pride & Professionalism. Have any shrinking violets at work? With meaningful work and professional development opportunities, everyone should be proud of their role. If you don’t sense a spirit of pride at work-  you know people need to be recognized for their contribution. Regularly show employees why they should be proud and their work is meaningful. Highlight how you support the community and contribute to others.

Of the top reasons people leave their work-  is they don’t feel appreciated. ACTION - Don’t leave this to fate, make sure people feel genuinely recognized. Appoint employees to this role.

Organizations that play together stay together. It’s trite but true. Having fun at work turns the routine into festive and encourages positive workplace rapport. ACTION - Add humor and play to meetings, cluster interaction, and shift change. Motivational speeches that engage and inspire help but only if they are relevant.

Glean the element of surprise. People remember the unexpected (i.e. - Not many people will forget September 11th). ACTION - Create positive memories by engaging in the unexpected. Surprise people with activities, rewards, games, and recognition. Be creative, the more surprising the better!

Smiling Inspires Confidence. Smirk- it’s good for business. People feel at ease and comfortable when others smile. When your staff smiles it inspires confidence. ACTION - Spend time walking around smiling and encourage people to have fun at work. Self development starts with a positive disposition.

Tell your story. Your organization has a purpose, history and vision… Share it. Your story helps people feel like a part of something important. ACTION - Communicate your story often at meetings and retreats. Appoint employees to act it out or tell it at company events.

Manage Expectations. High expectations can lead to disappointment. Define for your employees and customers reasonable expectations. ACTION - Clearly outline what others can expect from any interaction/ procedure or role. Under promise so you can routinely over-deliver.

Settle for No Less than Learning. Learning is a priority, so look for the lesson in everything. Treat mistakes as learning opportunities. Most people are doing the best they can, given the time and resources they have. ACTION - When mistakes happen don’t punish but make sure they are treated as a learning opportunity. Have a seminar that encourages people to discuss near misses and opportunities to improve.

Insist on Respectful Behavior. Disrespectful acts are instant morale crushers. ACTION - Clearly define and communicate what is respectful behavior and what is not. Acts of disrespect should be reprimanded. Challenge each other with respect.

Involve. The more you involve people in problem solving the more they will buy into the solution. ACTION - Create a system to solicit input and incorporate it before rolling out change.

Laugh, Lighten up and enjoy your Mind! New brain research by guest speaker, Dr Candace Pert suggests that when we laugh we use our brain to its highest capacity. Laughter immediately boosts endorphins, increases energy and decreases stress hormones. ACTION - Have laugh breaks to encourage the active use of humor. Put games, joke books, stand up comedy tapes in the lunch and break areas to help people engage their humorous side.
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Tags: motivational speeches, seminar, Motivation in the workplace, self development

Motivational Speeches about Understanding the Upside of Down

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:05 PM

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
-- Jim Horning

Putting all self development instruction aside, when everything goes wrong the very last thing I feel like doing is being positive!

“Look on the bright side,” others will say. Because it’s illegal to kill them, I have had to consider this fluffy inspiration and advice - to try it and assume it'll be a success.

I am a female motivational speaker, so I have to believe in this Pollyanna stuff. One of my favorite motivational speeches is a spoof on all this Rah-Rah inspiration. We know from experience that we can't just push the conflict under the carpet and pretend it's not there.

Yet, when I look back at any tough times I have had, I see that's where I have learned the most. It had to get bad to make me uncomfortable enough to have to want the change, and in the end the change was for the better.

"A satisfied need ceases to motivate," said Maslow.

When things go wrong it causes breakdown that's difficult, but that creates equilibrium in that situation.

If things we wanted were easy to get, we probably wouldn’t even want them anymore.  We aren't made to enjoy and respect cherry-picking for any length of time. We have to go through challenge to appreciate what we have and how far we've come.

The reason we have conflict is because we care. If we don't care, we won’t get upset in the first place. If it does not matter to us and if we have no investment in the outcome, then the outcome just doesn't matter. Leadership and change happen when we care and we have the courage to face reality.

We have to go through the challenges of life to gain wisdom, and not until you experience something can you really appreciate it.

A motivational speaker who suggests that life is to be perfect all the time, despite reality, misleads the audience. That speaker is wrong.

Sink down lower than you’ve ever sunk

It may be a cliche, but it's true:  When you hit the bottom there's nowhere else to go but up. While you're building back up, you're building character through success. When you go through really tough emotional times, it can help to remind yourself that life can only get better from here. The next time things go wrong, you know that you can handle it, that you’ve done it before and were a success, so you can do it again. Life is about change. All of life is about change, from the seasons to plant and animal lifespans. You and I are changing every minute of every day, fashioned by every experience and every exchange we have with others.  Like it or not change happens, and when you realize that it's usually for the better, it delights you with the motivation to face new challenges and life goals.

As a female motivational speaker, I give these three ideas about change:

Change Builds

Character. Change creates challenge, and challenge has the capacity to teach people about their limitations and their gifts. When things go wrong or mistakes are made it builds humility; when we overcome new obstacles, we build our gifts.

Wisdom. A new level of sensitivity and relating to others comes from surviving life challenges.

Gratitude. When we have it all, we tend to take it for granted. When what we have is taken away, we often gain a new appreciation for what we had and a new recognition of what we still have. When you fail to appreciate life you lose your joy.

By confronting problems you can find healthier solutions. In the midst of chaos, loss and frustration you may be learning to:

  • Balance toughness with sensitivity
  • Go deep inside and embrace fear for real self development
  • Build mental and emotional toughness
  • Persevere toward success
  • Be on purpose when you're off balance
  • Be hard on problems and soft on people
  • Manage perceived threats
  • Deepen social support
  • Believe, have hope, and find inspiration
  • See change not as interruption, but as opportunity for leadership and self development to steer your life

It's easy to disengage and detach from life when things aren’t the way you want. It can be easy to avoid struggle. However, distancing yourself from conflict, leadership, and change only makes the situation worse - it prolongs the change and postpones your date with responsibility. Passivity leads to a victim mindset, and soon complaining takes over while you feel your life is controlled by others.

Develop compassion for yourself given the circumstances, understand there will be some good in this bad.  Take a deep breath and decide how you are going to handle the change in your life!

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Tags: motivational speaker, leadership and change, motivational speeches, humorous motivational speaker, success

Leadership Tips to Build Trust

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 03:40 PM

Just imagine a workplace that relies on fraud, deceit and regular scams as a way of doing business. Its niche is carved out of false promises and open lies. Thankfully, most organizations like this only enjoy a very brief existence. Contrast the very corrupt organization with one holding a spotless record and unblemished past, and it becomes logical that many organizations fit somewhere between these two extremes. Tenuous balances of trust and stress underlie all business activity. 

Lack of trust will undermine any leadership strategy. If employees don’t feel trusted, they will guard their words and be reluctant to offer input. The job becomes All Work & No Say as soon as a lack of trust steals the inspiration away.

Symphony of Trust

A leadership skill many don't talk about is trust. How much do you trust your staff and why does it matter? Trust affects the bottom line: the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat clients. If it’s acceptable that an organization or leader doesn’t have to keep promises, then you can almost guarantee employees won’t be keeping promises to clients either.

“People do business with people they trust.” You’ve heard this before. A client’s trust in an organization starts with a leaders trust in its employees. As Leadership Expert and Motivational Speaker, Lance Secretan quips in Reclaiming Higher Ground, “Our society is suffering from truth decay.” He holds that, especially in teams, telling the truth is essential to good business. “If the members of a symphony lie to each other, they will play awful music,” he maintains. So it goes in any leadership team environment. Another compelling advantage for telling the truth is that it’s efficient. Over a third of an organization’s budget may be devoted to administrative functions such as controls, reports and procedures. Many controls exist because leadership doesn’t trust employees. What if we could nix some of these controls and have our leadership strategy to be trust each other to do our best? It would be much less expensive and much more efficient.


Many organizations think that trust isn’t a concern. On the surface everything is fine, but on closer inspection one might discover that employees are seeking to satisfy only their basic immediate needs. Their inspiration and passion is lost in the details of the job. Over time, working in such an atmosphere precipitates lethargy for some, and for others, illness. Workplace wellness declines.

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Tags: motivational speeches, keynote speaker for transportation conference, Workplace motivation, public speakers, health seminars

Acknowledge People without Turning Them Off

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 03:32 PM

Does acknowledging your employees compel them to explore their potential further or is it more of a mindless clacking of cliche expressions? Is your recognition program a superficial ploy encroaching on your staff’s need to be candidly recognized and inspired? Don’t be disheartened because many organizations suffer the same twisted fate. Employee morale boosters hinge on how well leaders recognize staff. Everybody likes to be appreciated for their efforts, but only if they are rewarded and acknowledged in a way that is genuine.

Include employees’ say in the way you salute their efforts. Most companies have a formal way of acknowledging employees with annual award banquets, including keynote speakers with motivational speeches, top sales awards and certificates. If your award program doesn’t invite a thunderous reception, it may be because it's too generic and not an inspiration.


There are some major pitfalls to generic leadership award programs:

  1. The reward is handed down from leadership and reinforces imbalances in power.
  2. It can be patronizing to receive a small award for a large accomplishment.
  3. The leadership recognition program falters because the accomplishment is often a team effort. It fosters resentment when just one person gets the reward.
  4. They cause competition and conflict.
  5. The reward usually occurs annually or semi-annually,thereby greatly postponing inspiration and recognition for superior daily performance.
  6. Salary raises are nice, but seldom motivate people to consistently achieve on the job.
  7. Top performers are often the same people every month. A formal award system may become a program that neglects secondary achievements. How is this helping the rest of your staff? You may be causing resentment, conflict. Formal award nights with humorous keynote speakers may not speak to the heart of recognition for the whole team.
  8. The most common flaw of leadership award programs is that they often reward people for doing work they were supposed to do anyway. It creates entitlement.

Why are formal award systems so popular as a leadership strategy then? The main advantage to formal awards is that they are easy to administer. All you need to do is calculate how close (or how far) people get to their goal, find the “top achievers” and acknowledge them with your standard reward.

This advantage is also the major disadvantage. Formal awards are a “mass acknowledgment” program. They can be very impersonal and don’t take into account the strengths, accomplishments or efforts of individuals. They don’t take into account employees’ say.

Formal award systems recognize one narrow aspect of the job (such as increased revenue, morale, sales or productivity) and those few employees who are good at achieving that goal. By contrast, informal recognition programs focus on spontaneous and personal appreciation of employee efforts.


Appreciating others is a brilliant and creative act. Leadership strategy needs to notice and nurture consistent acts of achievement. Yet many leaders don’t consider showing appreciation a part of their leadership skills. Other leaders realize that acknowledgment is important, but they botch the process. Spouting hollow praise too often will bring discouraging results.

There is an art to showing appreciation for others. Employees won’t be impressed by trite and generic compliments. Most leadership could use a bit of practice with thoughtful acknowledgments. Possibly a leadership seminar or workshop with a motivational talk to practice the keys to a good acknowledgement. According to B.F. Skinner, a good acknowledgment has four qualities. It is consistently:

  1. Specific: Talk very specifically about what you saw the person do. General motivational clichés like “good team player” will have a lukewarm effect.
  2. Immediate: Obviously praising someone for something she did nearly a year ago is a waste of time because the best acknowledgment is immediate. “Catch” someone in the act of doing well and compliment the behavior on the spot.
  3. Personal: Use the person’s name and talk about the qualities they bring to the team.
  4. Spontaneous: Never script compliments or they won’t sound sincere.

I would add to this always link individual performance to the overall good of the group. Here is an example: “Mike, congratulations on how you handled that difficult patient just now. He was nasty and not about to give up, but you sympathized, calmed him down and set him straight.” This acknowledgment is specific, immediate, personal, and spontaneous.

Next, link individual performance to the good of the group. “Your taking the time to explain things to that patient builds understanding and agreement and makes that patient so much easier for the rest of the team to deal with.”

According to a study done by Robert Half International Limited, a lack of praise and recognition is one of the primary reasons why employees leave their jobs.

Action Plan

Acknowledgment doesn’t have to come from a leader. Train and encourage all employees to recognize each other. Train in the four steps above and have employees role-play to acknowledge one another. Create a culture of appreciation (see below) where employees regularly recognize each other’s contributions.

Rewards That Increase Say and Engage Employees

Increasing the say factor in your organization means increasing employee input to their jobs. Leadership motivational speeches should reward people individually and in a personalized way for their accomplishments instead of generally addressing the whole group for its performance level. Take time to find out what specifically motivates each of your employees and then see what you can do to make those things happen. How do you find out what motivates others? Ask them.

Increase the say factor in the job by getting people talking about what inspires and motivates them and engage them in the reward process. When people get rewarded in the way they want, they will be much more satisfied. Involvement equals commitment. The best management is what you do with others, not to them.


  1. Create an acknowledgment committee. This is a fun volunteer position and it should rotate regularly, so all staff have an opportunity to participate. The acknowledgment committee is responsible for acknowledging other staff members weekly.
  2. Have the acknowledgment committee create a form that helps them get to know employees. Ask employees things like, “Share your favorite color, your biggest pet peeve, something interesting about your family, your hobbies...” Anything unique about a person that they would offer to share is valuable.
  3. File these forms away and every week (or month or however often) the committee randomly draws an employee’s name and checks the list to find interesting unique ways to acknowledge him. (e.g. Jason loves telling jokes so buy him a joke book). The “reward” is fun and does not cost a lot (usually under $10).
  4. The committee now has to catch Jason in the act of doing well and acknowledges him with the personalized item. You may even create a fun ritual, motivational talk,chant or saying when delivering acknowledgments.

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Tags: motivational speeches, keynote speaker, inspiration, morale boosters, leadership program

How to Be Happy

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 @ 07:50 PM

I was a motivational speaker for a group of school administrators where the other guest speaker quoted the book, Happy at Last by Dr Richard O'Connor.

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Tags: motivational speaker for school administrators, guest speaker, motivational speeches

How to Hire a Motivational Speaker for Nursing Events

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Thu, Aug 08, 2013 @ 05:52 PM

Nursing is a unique profession. Nurses work really hard and the work is usually very physically demanding. Many nurses continually feel overworked and frustrated as healthcare facilities ( hospitals, acute and long term care, etc) are short staffed and lack resources.

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Tags: motivational speeches, How to Hire Motivational Speaker, speakers for nursing events

Inspirational Speaker for Pupil Transport Conference

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 @ 10:47 AM

On June 19, 2013 I am an Inspirational Speaker for the Michigan Pupil Transport Conference. The conference is a joint event for support staff and directors or transport. Over 200 transportation professionals from across michigan will attend.

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Tags: motivational speeches

How to Increase the Value of a Motivational Speech

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

When I was a teenager, I used to listen to motivational speaker Zig Ziglar on audiotape.

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Tags: motivational speaker, motivational speech, motivational speeches

How to Evaluate a Motivational Speaker

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Apr 04, 2011 @ 02:29 PM

I am a keynote motivational speaker at 30 to 40 conferences per year. Audiences average about 200 people each conference;  every delegate who sees me speak is asked or invited to evaluate my motivational speech.

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Tags: motivational speeches, motivational keynote speaker, meeting planner, conference

Steps to Hiring a Motivational Speaker

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Fri, Apr 01, 2011 @ 01:57 PM

Hiring a motivational speaker can be an intimidating task. If it goes well, you look like a star, if it doesn't- it's painful.

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Tags: motivational speaker, motivational speeches, inspirational speaker, event

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