Motivational Speakers Who Walk Their Talk

What Will You Do With YOUR Spotlight?

Being that this blog post consists of motivational speakers, I would like to talk for a moment about being a motivational speaker. There are many of us out there – ranging from the person who knows they were born to be a motivational speaker, to the one who sort of landed in it, to the one who adds that element to another topic, to the one who has just decided to be one because they think it will get them more business. All are valid – if you deliver on what you promise.

I think that every good speaker -whether you are a keynoter or a trainer – should motivate. That’s the difference in hearing you and buying your book. You bring the experience. Delivering information in an entertaining way may be enough, but if that’s all you do, it makes me wonder how that makes your speech different from a lecture. Giving your audience the information is only taking them to a certain point. MOTIVATING them to do it is an another entirely different step and requires a different set of skills. And just because you taught, doesn’t mean you motivated. Just because you gave information, doesn’t mean you encouraged and empowered them to do it. Just because that speech told them everything you have done, doesn’t mean it had anything to do with them. And therein lies the goal of the motivational speaker who works to help that audience take the information they have been given and process it – to get past the negative mindsets – to make them believe that they can do this too. Motivational speakers work heavily on the emotional side of the audience. Our research has proven that the most widely searched speaker on the internet is the motivational speaker. Clients are asking for it. And there’s a reason. (I had a client call me yesterday and request eight hours of motivation. And nothing else. Just motivation.)

Too many speakers are calling themselves motivational speakers and not actually motivating their audience. They are writing speeches and not thinking about how to use their language to encourage and empower the listener. They are not thinking about what audience members are saying to themselves that would keep them from taking action on these new ideas. There are lots of articles on being a good speaker, and getting more business, and creating more product – but where are the classes on motivational speaking – teaching people how to structure their language so that it actually does motivate? Who is showing speakers how to go from just telling them they can do it, to showing them they can do it? Many are using the word hoping it brings them more business. And therein lies the disconnect.

So to all you speakers out there, new and seasoned, who proudly carry the title of “Motivational Speaker” I kindly ask that you take a moment and reflect on this title you have given yourself. Make sure you deliver. Make sure you know what it is about you that gives you the right to carry that banner. Are your audiences telling you that you motivate them? Do you see those comments in your evaluations and testimonials?  Are you crafting your language to accomplish the purpose of motivating them to act on what you have taught them?  Do you understand what your client wants when they call you and ask for heavy motivation? Do you know how you connect emotionally with your listener?

As I said before, I believe all speakers should and could motivate their audience. But be very careful about flying that flag if you’re not walking the talk. And don’t be discouraged – because it’s not as hard as it sounds. It starts with your own motivation to serve the audience. And I know you have it, or you wouldn’t be a speaker. Now let’s just make sure you are using it in a way that translates into words on stage. I believe in you. And that audience needs your voice. You may be the only light they see in a dark world. Step into that power. Carry the banner of motivational speaker with pride. It’s a gift.


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. Yippee!  You do make me feel proud to be a motivational speaker, Kelly.  AND – you challenge me to make sure that I’m not just dumping info on people, but am giving them ways to motivate themselves to take action when I’m not around.  Good stuff!!! 

    • Thanks Linda! I already know you walk the talk. And you are phenomenal at giving people something they can take home to help them motivate themselves. And I know you WANT to help them – which is the most important part to being a motivational speaker. And I think it's important to always be in touch with those in the audience who know what to do – but aren't sure they can do it. Or those who haven't realized why this is important to them.  

  2. Kelly, you are motivating whether I’m listening to you one-on-one or hearing your words to many in a crowd or within this blog. You are a true motivational speaker.

    • Thanks Colette! Lord knows I don’t know how to do anything else! And I’ve been on the receiving end of your motivation too – from the stage, and across the kitchen table. You are authentic, and living out the “Speak Your Truth” message that you speak. It’s so cool how many times I’ve heard you tell me (or someone else) to just speak their truth, and how it applies to their situation. It’s when you see the speaker embody those principles  OFF STAGE that you see why they excel at what they do. Keep on motivating Colette!

  3. You hit the nail on the head, Kelly!  I have a better understanding of how to connect to my audience because or your insights.  Thanks for motivating the motivators!

  4. This is a great post Kelly.  As usual!  You care so much not only about motivational speakers but about the audiences they serve.  I used to have as a goal that people say to me I was the best motivational speaker they’ve seen.  Now my goal is to have them say they were inspired to take positive action in their lives.  Thanks for the reminder to wear my title with pride.  I really do love what I do – plus I can’t cook. :)

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