Why Motivational Speakers are Not Effective

Jul 1, 2008 | Business

Hi Everyone!

To say “I am overwhelmed” by your response to starting this blog would be understating it in the extreme. Am I the only one who read every posting from you? Or did you all do that? Either way … WOW! As we get into more “life stuff” on this blog, I think our combined thoughts—available for everyone to see—will create great opportunities for us to learn and understand concepts that will make immediate differences in our lives.

Now … how can we use this blog to enrich our lives? Can we become more productive in our careers? Can we be better parents or spouses or friends? Is it possible to make more money and still have time for the quality of life we desire?

You might have noticed that on any material originating from our offices (to include books, biography, or web presence) I am never described as a “motivational speaker”. Neither do I claim any particular expertise in any specified field. How many of you know that I don’t have a college degree … ?

When I am speaking to a corporate group, I sometimes tease the audience by saying, “I appreciate being here, but I must confess that I do not really know what you do … ” It is amusing to me how nervous some of the company leaders become when I make that statement! I quickly go on to explain that while I couldn’t hope to understand the detail and skill with which they go about their daily jobs, my own “talent” lies within noticing little things that bring about seismic shifts in our lives.

Many CEO’s or leaders of major companies mistakenly believe that they can elicit better production from employees by specifically training them to do more of (or become better at) what they do. For instance, a sales organization might train in specific detail, “the steps to successful selling”. This training is usually done by someone who has enjoyed more success in sales than the people whom they are teaching.

Or an organization might bring in a “motivational speaker” to inspire the rank and file to greater levels of production …

Believe me, neither approach works long term. The only reason companies, teams, associations, or organizations do ANY of this is because of tradition (that’s what they have always done…) or they don’t have any idea what else to do!

Specific training has limited value and is virtually useless unless there is something new to learn. How many times can we hear, “The more calls you make, the more success you will have … ”

Similarly, motivation itself is highly overrated. I have never seen anyone “motivated” into winning (or even running) a marathon. One might be motivated into starting … but that’s a different story.

Think about this: If we polled society today, no one would ever say that their job/career is the most important thing in their life. The answer to that question always revolves around God or family or both. Yet corporate entities sometimes train and treat their people as if the most important thing in their lives is their career and are subsequently baffled when production and profits fail to increase.

There are four challenges I see people struggle with every day:

1) Their most significant relationship isn’t what they want it to be… (I am not saying that someone’s marriage or friendship is horrible—I am just saying it is on their mind in a somewhat negative way.)

2) Communication with their children, friends, or work partners isn’t what they want it to be… (Again, I am not saying that communication has broken down entirely, I am just saying that it is “not great”.)

3) They don’t have any idea that they can control their lives financially.

4) They are not certain that their life really matters anyway.

Listen… anytime we have employees or clients or children or friends who have any of these four challenges—or any combination thereof—they can’t possibly be trained or motivated into doing their best. Why? Because the most important part of their lives is in disarray! Simply put: Something besides their job is overriding their thoughts and reducing their effectiveness in accomplishing the task at hand.

So, you see, I don’t ever claim to save anyone’s marriage or have any particular business expertise. All I do is uncover principles which, when applied, make a drastic difference in the most important parts of our lives, allowing us to focus on our jobs and careers, ultimately generating greater results. This is what I do as a speaker, with my books, and very soon, what I hope to accomplish with this blog: Together, we will discover some little things that will make it possible to create THE LIFE YOU CHOOSE.

For now, remember that to improve your life’s bottom line (financially and in every other way), it is generally not the sales technique we need to work on—it is the salesman!

Throughout the life of this blog, you and I will find ways to dive more into specific thoughts, actions and their consequences.

In the next post, I will tell you how my life changed drastically several weeks ago …

Your friend,


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