Friday, November 29, 2019

It's not a Motivational Talk if The Audience Doesn't Change

Does “published Texas author” automatically mean “great educational assembly presenter?” I just got back from an event where I was hired as a motivational speaker based, in part, on the fact that I'm a recognized author among the attendees. It was a great event and my talk was very well received. This was a very high-end event with a ticket price of $2,497.00 per person, so you can imagine the caliber of speakers I shared the stage with. It was an honor to be invited to the event and when I wasn't talking, I was at the back of the room taking notes!

Texas Author Julian Franklin, Magician & Motivational Speaker
As I was watching the various speakers I realized that there were people on the stage that were a little bit “famous” in some circles. These are people who have had amazing careers and have some incredible stories. I enjoyed watching and listening to them recount their life histories. At one point it dawned on me that the “celebrity” talks were fun, interesting, and made me feel closer to the celebrity on stage, but the content of the talk didn't really hold very much actionable material. In other words, I wasn't taking any notes. The talk was interesting and entertaining, but I was not finding myself changed because of it. I didn't end the talk with a list of things to do. My behavior wasn't changed because of the talk. I didn't finish any different than I started.

I contrast that with several of the talks that were presented by people I had never heard of prior to this event. Their talks were not only interesting and entertaining, they were also packed with actionable information. I left not just entertained, but INSPIRED. I had a list of things that I WANTED to do, even to the point of feeling that I NEEDED to do these things. My behavior was certainly altered.

I know that when putting on events like the one where I spoke, there is a need to balance information delivery and pure entertainment. And please don't misunderstand me: I found ALL the talks to be worthwhile. I just noticed a difference that I found interesting. As someone who makes his living as a professional motivational speaker, I tend to sometimes micro-analyze things like this, in an attempt to constantly improve what I offer when I present, whether it is an attempt to provide the best elementary school author visit in Texas or a motivational speech to professional entertainers in Florida.