Sometimes In Order to Get the Spotlight We Must Give Up The Spotlight

motivational speaker on giving up the spotlightI love being a professional speaker. I love the stage, the lights, the roar of an audience laughing, spending hours crafting every word. When I hit that stage it's mine. I own it. I own that space. I walk in confidence. This is my zone. And being a professional, I want to be in command of what happens in the zone. My reputation is at stake. But today, I gave up the spotlight. Not totally – but for a while – I let the audience have a voice. That's a scary thing to do in a keynote, where it's expected that you will hear the speaker speak. And I did speak for a little bit. Okay, a lot. But today I wanted to do something really outside my comfort zone and open up the floor. I wanted to see what happens when I give up control and let someone else have the moment. And so I did. And it was really cool. I watched other people get up and speak. I watched the room respond to "one of them" having the platform. And it felt really good. I had the spotlight and I gave it away. Was it a success? I don't know. But it felt honest and raw and real. And I think I might have even been braver and showed up more when I didn't have the floor. I know, it's weird. And I'm still trying to get my arms around it. But the lesson I'm taking away from this today, is that sometimes in order to get the spotlight, we must learn to give it up. Let someone else shine. And be comfortable knowing your light isn't taken away – you've just increased it.I think I'll try it again soon. Who knows, maybe I can become the world's most famous motivational speaker who never says a word! 


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. Hi Kelly,

    A speaker I know who does this really, really well is Jana Stanfield. Knowing how precious stage time is, I was always amazed at how, time after time, she would invite someone up on stage with her and share or give them the microphone. It was always a rich and rewarding experience.  You go, girl. Spread your wings. — Barbara

  2. No no no!!!!! I don't want you to be the most famous motivational speaker who doesn't say a word!  But, giving up some of the spotlight for your audience?  Brilliant!  I love this Kelly.  It's scary, it's new, it's out of your comfort zone for sure. (Being the author of a book specific to helping people get out of their comfort zone, you know I'm loving this). The payoff I bet was more inclusion and connection with your audience.  And, isn't that our ultimate goal when any of us step on stage?  Just don't go totally silent…that would rob all of us of your amazing talent!

  3. I agree with Marilyn, Kelly. You are one of the most amazing and ridiculously funny keynote speakers I have ever seen – and I would hate to see you give up too much of your time on that stage.  And while I TOTALLY get what you are saying and how magical things can happen when you give up that spotlight for a moment or two here or there.  And – may I ask you to think about one thing? Have you ever been in the audience of a REALLY great speaker..someone you were REALLY enjoying – when they gave up the floor to someone who wanted to talk but wasn't as engaging, interesting or informational as the person you came there to hear?  This has happened to me a couple of times and I remember wishing we could get back to the person I came there to hear. Oh, no doubt you did it in such a way that engaged everyone – but if I am in your audience. YOU, the REMARKABLE KELLY SWANSON, I want to hear you. 

  4. Marilyn and Linda took the words right out of my mouth! Love the concept, would certainly miss you.

  5. That's a fantastic growth spurt you just had there, Miss Kelly!  I'm sure you never left the spotlight for your audience when you allowed another to speak but increased it even more!

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