What Makes Great Motivational Speakers?

Motivational Speaking

Have you ever been so enchanted by a speaker that when they’re done you’re motivated to act in a new or better way? Maybe at a high school assembly you heard a tearful mother tell the story of losing her son in a drunk driving accident. Or perhaps at a conference you saw an impassioned professional in your industry share their stories and insights. Maybe you attended a graduation and heard a powerful commencement address or went to an awards ceremony that included an unforgettable keynote speaker.

Whether in a huddle on the field or a pep talk from a parent after a bad day, we’ve all heard speeches that give us inspiration to be, do, have, and give more. But what makes some speakers so legendary that they not only move us, they motivate us? These are the motivational speakers that get paid to give keynote addresses, lead major corporate workshops, counsel the rich and famous, author best-selling books, and bring transformation to companies, communities, cities and entire countries. These are the names that history will remember as the greatest at the craft of motivational speaking. Names like Norman Vincent Peele, Jim Rohn, Dr Wayne Dyer and Nick Vujicic, to name a few. All are inspiring motivational speakers in their own time and way and all wished to make a major impact through helping individuals find motivation within themselves to accomplish their heart’s desires. Right now, the biggest impact in the industry is being made by John C. Maxwell.

John is a multiple New York Times best-selling author of over 70 books on leadership, relationships, teamwork and attitude. He’s counseled international governments, worked with major corporations all over the world, led efforts to impact millions of people through his non-profit organizations, and now with the John Maxwell Team he’s working to certify others in his Maxwell Method of speaking, coaching and training. He has a vision to teach what he’s learned through the last 50 years of leadership and to equip others with his insights, values, best practices and resources to maximize their potential in less time than it took him.

According to John a motivational speaker should not only paint a vivid and memorable picture, but teach a lesson that can be generalized and applied to the listener’s life. With John’s Maxwell Method of speaking we learn his exact formula for writing the perfect speech through a series of ‘tell a story, make a point’ paths that lead the listener through emotional highs and lows, and plenty of aha moments and surprises that lead to deeper insight.

Focusing on the listener’s needs rather than his own helped John take his speaking from good to great and discover this key principle of the Maxwell Method of speaking: Be there for the audience. When his goal became to add so much value to his audience that they chose to make changes or commitments that were important to them, he hit a new level of professional achievement. He determines his success by how well the audience receives his desired message, not by how he felt about his performance. He says that it wasn’t until he got out of his own head and became obsessed with delivering value for the audience that his speaking went to the next level.

Another top priority for a motivational speaker and a cornerstone of the Maxwell Method of speaking is to be relatable by being real about your mistakes. Being relatable in motivational speaking is more than telling a few jokes and building rapport. It’s about being vulnerable; having the humility to share through your own mistakes for the benefit of your audience. Being human, and teaching the lessons you’ve learned is the best way to stay relatable. By exposing your own shortcomings and failures you show the audience that if you can do it, so can they.

Being motivated and inspired by speeches certainly isn’t a new concept, but seeing it become a rapidly growing genre and booming industry shows that as a society, we’re hungry for motivation. We want to do better, be better, have more, give more and live more. We want to be motivated to find the tools, support and resources to help us achieve the goals we set for ourselves. So why save motivational speeches for graduations and special occasions? One of the greatest motivational speakers of all time, Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” Luckily, with resources like the John Maxwell Team and the Maxwell Method, it’s getting easier to get your daily dose of motivation, inspiration and action steps towards your goals.

What’s the greatest thing about hearing a great speaker like John? Often you were so entertained that you didn’t even realize you were also learning and the inspiration becomes the icing on the cake. If you’re interested in doing the same you don’t want to miss out on what John has developed with the John Maxwell Team. The certification program teaches the Maxwell Method to members, so that everyone can motivate themselves and others to live their dreams. If you’re interested in exploring how you can join the John Maxwell Team, click here to discover more and we hope to meet you soon!

Motivational SpeakingShila Morris is a classic entrepreneur at heart with several businesses and interests. She is the President and co-owner of the Squeeze In breakfast and lunch restaurant chain and has helped the business grow from one location to five and break into the franchising industry. She is also vice-president and co-owner of YoungSocial, a marketing, events and communications agency for high profile clients. Shila is passionate about helping business owners and entrepreneurs become successful and often volunteers and speaks to groups across the United States on the topics of leadership, restaurant industry, marketing and motivation. Her appearances include delivering a TEDx speech at the University of Nevada Reno, introducing First Lady Michelle Obama at a local event, and teaching workshops on marketing for the John Maxwell Team at the biannual International Maxwell Certification. She lives in Reno Nevada with her husband Chad and their three children Wesley, Emerie and Annadelle and is currently studying at the University of Nevada Reno for her Masters degree in Sociology.