How to choose the right motivational speaker

While many motivational speakers have certain degrees and hands-on experience that make them qualified to stand in front of a crowd, there is no certain criteria required in Australia, New Zealand, or North America, in order to call oneself a “motivational speaker.”

As a result, a simple search for a motivational speaker in Australia, or one in New Zealand, Canada, or the US, yields hundreds, if not thousands of results. How, then, can you determine which motivational speaker is the right one for your specific needs?

There are, of course, certain and basic criteria that you should corroborate prior to committing to any motivational speaker, including:

  • Does the motivational speaker’s message connect with your intended audience?
  • Does the motivational speaker have a good reputation and testimonials that you can check and contact?
  • Is the speaker’s style delivered in such a way that the message will be conveyed without boring your group?

However, even if a motivational speaker does meet all of the above criteria, that doesn’t make them a perfect match for your needs. When choosing the right speaker for your event or group, it all comes down to one simple question:

What does your audience want to improve upon?

Once you can target the answer to this question, you’ll have an easier time whittling away the thousands of speakers across New Zealand, Australia, and the US, to come down to just a select few you can interview, to see if there’s a perfect match.

What every motivational speaker should accomplish

Since the dawn of time (or thereabouts), most motivational speakers have followed a simple formula that involves:

  1. Arrive to your event
  2. Deliver their presentation
  3. Motivate the crowd
  4. Leave

Often times, this type of formula can work. But not always. A gifted and passionate motivational speaker will employ other tactics to ensure that your event is a success, and that your audience is truly moved. This includes:

  • Delivering clear plans on how to execute personal and office-wide goals with a step-by-step methodology (not just recant anecdotes)
  • Delivering messages that focus on each employee or audience member. This doesn’t mean that the speaker will address each audience member. Rather, it means that the message he or she delivers will be tailored and adapted to his audience. A presentation to a sports team should not be delivered in the same manner as a presentation to a group of lawyers, for example
  • Helping to implement an environment of continuing education. Most people leave a seminar fired up and motivated. But true motivation isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. Your ideal motivational speaker will help implement an environment where ongoing motivational gatherings and camaraderie are held so that the original message is not lost over time.

What to look for when choosing a motivational speaker

When choosing the right motivational speaker for your event, you want to keep in mind the following:

  1. It’s not dependence. It’s interdependence. Be wary of a motivational speaker who opts to use the word “dependence.” Dependence only means that a person is incapable of doing something on their own. As a leader, you want your staff/players/team to be independent – or capable of handling the job without too much guidance. However, as a leader of a group, you want the sum to be greater than its parts, which is why you should look for a motivational speaker who helps to cultivate a community of interdependence.
  2. Stories are good, unless they’re just stories. Motivational speakers are great storytellers. Stories often allow the audience to connect to some type of message or lesson. However, sometimes a story just falls flat on its face. Your motivational speaker’s stories should be a process. They should help to define a proven process for change. The story is one way to lead an audience to this message – but not everyone will be able to connect to the anecdote. Your motivational speaker should be able to convey a captivating story while also making clear the purpose of it. Many motivational speakers have their presentations shared online for you to assess.

Motivational speakers are like pots of gold …

It’s not easy to find one, but when you do, you’ll benefit for years to come. It’s so easy to just choose the first motivational speaker that shows up when searching for one in New Zealand, Australia or North America. But it’s important to do your research. Look at online videos. Connect with testimonials. Have a phone (or face to face) conversation with the speaker. Your goal when hiring a motivational speaker is to instill some form of change into your personal or professional life. But that change will only take place … and stick … if you have the right speaker for your needs. Take your time in choosing the right motivational speaker, and you’ll quickly discover it’s almost better than finding a pot of gold.


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