When I first started speaking on stage at conferences and events as a keynote speaker, I was loathe to describe myself as a motivational speaker, or an inspirational speaker. I wanted to be seen as an educational speaker, a wise industry speaker that had loads of knowledge that, like a great oracle, I could deliver to an audience from a stage at any given conference.
I quickly came to realise two things: while audiences want information that they don’t already have, or can’t get from anywhere else, they also want that information to be delivered in an authentic, real and honest way that is engaging, entertaining, and – dare I say it – fun.
All speakers are motivational speakers.
And the other thing I came to realise was that all speakers, if they are good at delivering content in a fun and engaging way, are motivational speakers.
Regardless of whether you are Oprah Winfrey or Tony Robbins or not, to be convincing and persuasive enough to get an audience to think differently (which is always my sole aim on stage), then you need to inspire them and motivate them to think outside of their normal lived experience.
They need to be given permission to be creative, to let go of some of their own limiting beliefs and standard behaviour, and accept what you are saying to them in that moment.
My Speaking Showreel.
And since I have had that realisation, it has changed completely the way that I prepare, and deliver, my keynote addresses at conferences and events.
It has taught me that my 45 minutes on stage isn’t about me, at all. It’s only about the audience and what they are expecting, what they might get out of it, and how they might think differently after my presentation.
For a long time, I lived alongside that famous Australian ‘tall poppy syndrome’, the phenomenon that Aussies love to tear down anyone that gets ‘too big for their boots’. It’s rubbish, of course, and is extremely limiting when it comes to any kind of stage performer, as I believe motivational speakers are.
I didn’t want to call myself a motivational speaker or an inspirational speaker because, well, then I would have to be motivating and inspiring. And to set out just to be motivating and inspiring is a lot of pressure really.
But to deliver my content in a way that gets people to think differently, that encourages people to change their thinking and maybe even their daily lives, and persuades people to think that their potential is much greater than what they are currently showing the world, well, that is inspirational, it is motivational.
So now I embrace it.
I AM a motivational speaker.
And any other person who gets up on a stage, in front of an audience at a conference or event, and then changes how that audience thinks, even just for a moment, well they are a motivational speaker too.