Being a Motivational Speaker Can Be Terrifying

But It’s Also a Flipping Blast!

Brad speaking to massive audience

Does your motivational speaker sound canned or customized?   (Careful…there is only one good answer here.). 

Audiences today are sophisticated, experienced, and have seen it all.  (Or so they think.). It’s hard to impress them.  And if they are watching a speaker they perceive to be “phoning it in” or “canned” you’ve just wasted both your investment AND your precious time at the live event.

This means that when I’m in front of a convention or meeting audience, I need to connect with them immediately.  I’m required to create an Experience…not a “Talk.”  They need to feel like, “Oh man am I glad I didn’t miss this… it will never be repeated again!”

brad montgomery live

And This Knowledge is Terrifying.  

I know my job is to create something that is spontaneous and best of all hilariously funny.  I know that I’m going to have to create impromptu jokes.  But it’s hard.  “What if I don’t have it today?”  “What if I have a cold and just don’t feel funny?  What then?”  What if I am working at 7 a.m. EST…and my body feels like it’s 5 a.m. and I’m not able to find anything to laugh at?”

There are tons of techniques to get the audience to bond with you as a funny motivational speaker.  But nothing is as powerful as customized, on-the-spot humor created about what’s happening right then. In that room.  At the convention.  At the hotel.  And happily for me, this is something I’m both very good at…and I love to do.  

I’ve definitely had times where it didn’t go as smooth as butter.  But mostly things work out.  Mostly through experience and a fairly high tolerance for feeling goofy in front of a live audience, I’m able to find things that are both funny, and help me to create an event.  Not a “talk.”

Take my recent trip I took to San Diego.  Please.    

The main thing that was true for EVERY person in the audience is that we all had to walk a very long way from our hotel room to the convention center.  And then it turns out that we had to walk to the very FAR end of a very large convention center.  It was probably a half a mile or more, but felt further.  And as I was headed to the sound check the night before I  knew I had found a premise.  A thing to joke about.  A thing that all of us experienced. 

Long Walk

Way further than any of us could have guessed.

Not easy to find either.

Many of the people would be in uncomfortable shoes.

Ok!  I’ve got it. So the next morning I joked about this very premise.   And lucky me…it worked and hit hard.  They loved it.

My jokes weren’t perfect.  And neither was my delivery.  But what was more important for the audience was the fact that they knew I was talking right then, just for them, just for that morning.  It was relevant.  It was a shared experience.  And therefore it helped the audience to start to trust me.

team building speaker audience
Brad pointing

It was a fun date.  And it’s also a great illustration of what I go through for every keynote speech: I need to search for something instant and relevant to prove I’m not a canned motivational hack.  I need to stand out.  And I need to make ‘em laugh.

Enjoy the video.   Do me a favor and hit Like and Subscribe…it helps more than you might think.

And if you made it this far…thanks.  THANKS for reading it.  

Leave a comment below about what you love or hate in a business speaker…I’d love to know.

Bottom line: creating an experience that is relevant to my audience is something that I work hard to provide to all clients. And it’s a terrifying process each and every time.  But laughing together about a scenario that most of us in the group just experienced immediately connects us all.  

Brad Montgomery loves to speak to audiences of all sizes, and specializes in engaging, connecting and empowering groups in a multitude of professions. Brad loves to kick off conferences as the opening keynote speaker, but he also brings impact with expanded keynotes, interactive breakout sessions, and team building. Contact Brad today to find out how he can make your next meeting epic.

1 reply
  1. David Kemler
    David Kemler says:

    I used to do lectures for histologists at their nation convention – it’s been 5 yrs since my last one – I miss it!

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