motivational speaker


Three Questions To Ask Your Motivational Speaker (Before You Book One!)


Selected Posts from Brad’s Past

We found a few posts, videos and stories from Brad’s past, and thought it would be fun to re-publish them here.  So pour yourself a cup of coffee, put on some classic rock, and check out this classic blog post from a decade (ish) ago.  


When our office phone rings, plenty of times it’s a seasoned meeting planner inquiring about the possibility of engaging me.  But often it’s somebody very new to the convention and meeting planning world who got tasked to hire the motivational speaker.  If you’re in that second category, here are three questions you should cover to help you have a better gauge as to whether this person is THE person.*

1.   Tell me about your track record.

You want your speaker to be a guaranteed success, and the best way to do that is to make sure your speaker has worked out the details several hundred audiences ago.     Ask about when they got started, how many clients they work for a year.   Where can you see a complete list of their clients?  And how much have they worked for audiences in YOUR industry?

Clearly, you want a motivational speaker with TONS of experience.  Make sure you get one.

2.  How Do You Keep the Audience Engaged?

Not just listening.  Engaged.     Not checking their smart phones while they listen.  Not reading the newspaper or the convention program.   I’m talking ENGAGED.

I use humor — laugh-out-loud comedy — to ensure my audiences are listening to my business messages.  I use audience participation, game-show segments, and mini-aciivites to change the pace and keep the learning on “fast.”

I could spend a few hours talking about this concept.   Because I know that if we create an “experience” for your people and not just deliver a keynote they will be more engaged.

If we make it fun, they’ll learn more.  If they laugh, they’ll learn even more.  But most of all, if we do those things WHILE making it relevant the message will stick —   making it engaging helps with retention.

If the speaker you are interviewing doesn’t have a long, detailed action plan for this question that makes sense and appeals to you, send up the red flag.

3.   Will your message be relevant, valuable and helpful for my audience?

Oh, that’s a good one!  Answer:   customization.

My programs are pretty general.  But your audience is VERY specific.  How can we make sure that they fit?   Easy…. ask.

Because I’ve done this job so long I have a big bag of tricks to make sure that what what I deliver is on target to my audience.  And because my audiences change with each client, that means that I have to customize both my message and my delivery with every client.

I’ve turned down jobs before because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to “fit” a given audience.   I know if I can do it.   And the speakers you are interviewing know it too.

Ask them.  Listen to their level of confidence.  Listen to their experience.  And ask them about what “customizing” means to them.   (Some speakers will drop in the name of the organization 4 times during an hour speech and call that customization.  If you want more than that — and you should — you need to ask some very pointed questions about how your motivational speaker will customize their program to fit your needs, your goals,  your desired outcomes and especially your audience.

I’d love to be on your team and would love to be of service for your meeting or convention.  Are you ready to ask ME these questions (and a few of your own?)  Contact me here.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Funny Keynote Speaker, Astronaut**

*  The secret fourth question should be, “What else should I ask you to help me decide on which motivational speaker to book?”   If your speaker can’t go on….and on and on and on….with this question, you’ve found another hint.

**  Ok, I’m not an astronaut.  You caught me.


Meeting Planners Have a Lot at Risk and Speakers Need to Understand It

I recently was a motivational speaker for a audience of 500 Foster Case Workers in Austin, Texas and my client came up to me afterwards and told me that one of his many jobs was to manage risk and now that the program was over he was able to be honest with me.  I started to get a little lump in my throat, but happily, this is when my client put on a huge smile and told me “Brad, it went great!”, so I was happy and I was relived but this is where the lesson started.

My client told me what I already know but is an excellent reminder for me and anybody who is either booking a motivational speaker or plans to be a motivational speaker.  He told me how important this event was to him.  He told me that he was bringing in 500 people away from their jobs for a 2 ½ hour event plus their travel time, so for many of them, this was going to be most of their day and that the opportunity cost was outrageously expensive.  He also told me that he was already thinking ahead towards next year’s event and that he worked hard to fill that room with 500 people who were very busy already and if this event was a turkey, he would have a next to impossible time getting equal numbers, much less greater numbers, next year.

So, what’s the point?  The point is that as meeting planners and as speakers and as general members of the meeting and convention industry, we need to understand that when we’re negotiating motivational speaker’s fees, it’s more than the money.

Pick a speaker that will guarantee a return on your investment

My client invested quite a bit of money in me.  He’s brought me in for one event and we’re duplicating the event next week in a different city in Texas.  So, his investment is pretty great, but he is looking at the big picture.  He sees that his investment in the speaker really is just a tiny piece in the puzzle and that when you add it up to all of the other things he needs to accomplish, he’s putting way more on the line.  He is risking way more on the line than just the investment in his professional speaking.  By the way, his attitude reflected this.  Some of my clients are freaking out about expenses and this and that and technology this or whatever, not this man.  He understood those tiny investments were absolute drops in the bucket.

So, next time you are looking to hire a motivational speaker and are interested about how to save money on speaker’s fees, I want you to remember all of the other things you’re investing into your meeting or conference.  It’s a huge opportunity cost for all of your people, huge meal cost for all of your people (in this case, my client bought a fancy lunch at the Austin Texas Omni Hotel, lunch for 500 people, I have no idea what the bill is but it was huge) but also the opportunity cost and the investment of momentum.

Next time you’re thinking about booking a speaker I want you to think about how much it will cost you to get the next level down speaker and how much you would save and then compare that savings to the cost of not having an absolute perfect conference.  Speaker’s fees generally reflect the level of guarantee you can expect.

So, can you save my money by booking a cheaper speaker?  Yes.  Can sometimes entry level speakers do a great job?  Yes.  Have you invested enough in your particular convention or meeting that you cannot afford anything but the very best?  If that’s the case, give us a call.  If you’re interested in booking a motivational speaker who has a high level of guarantee of success…my programs are fully guaranteed…I hope you’ll contact me here.

~Brad Montgomery~
Motivational Speaker, Texas Speaker, Guaranteed Professional Speaker