motivational speaker

Here is number five in our series of articles about “Top Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Speaker”

Professional Speaker or Celebrity Speaker?


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.  


Don’t Hire a Celebrity Speaker Unless You’re Ready to Take a Risk.

Very commonly, especially with my association clients, meeting planners love to hire celebrity speakers.  And I admit, there are a couple of very attractive reasons to hire celebrity speakers.  The main reason is to get people to attend the conference.  If you have a big celebrity headlining your keynote, people might be more inclined to attend the conference, which admittedly, is important.

But having said that, my experience, not ever having hired a speaker, but with working with hundreds or thousands of meeting planners who have worked with speakers both professional and celebrity, is that celebrity speakers tend not to deliver.  And if you think about it, this makes sense.  Celebrities are famous for doing something besides speaking.  They are football coaches, they are actors, they are movie stars, they are Olympic gold medalists.  They are not speakers.  And because their business does not depend on them delivering an outstanding keynote, experience tells me that more times than not, they don’t deliver an outstanding speech.

One meeting planner confided to a professional speaker pal of mine, that he hires a celebrity speaker to bring people to the conference and then he hires professional motivational speakers to actually deliver the goods.  Well, this is all fine and good, if you have the budget for both:  an overpriced celebrity speaker, and a top shelf professional speaker.

Hire a Professional Speaker to get your message across

But I suspect at the end of the day, if you think long term, even if you have that extra budget, you’re better off investing in professional speakers.  Why?  Two reasons; first, professional speakers deliver.  If you hire the right person, if you hire the person with experience who has a message that you feel will resonate with your organization or your audience, your professional speaker is paid to deliver.  And that means, not just deliver a speech, but to deliver excellence, to deliver lasting behavior change, and to deliver an experience that your people will remember and talk about long after that conference is over.

The second reason is,  if you think long term,  professional speakers are a better investment than celebrity speakers.  Professional speakers, if they’re any good, will make a huge impact on your audience and that audience, when they are considering whether or not to attend the following year’s conference or convention, will remember the power of that professional speaker much more favorably than they will remember the fact that there was a mediocre, disappointing, but famous speaker, at the conference.

In other words, if you hire a pro speaker, you’re thinking long term and you’re thinking wisely.  You’re realizing that a professional speaker will make a greater impact on your conference than your celebrity speaker.  Hire a professional speaker and you won’t be sorry.  The celebrities are great, but all you need is the autograph and then you can move on.

Are you looking for a professional speaker and don’t need a celebrity?  Hire me! I’d love to be your guy.

Brad Montgomery
Professional Speaker, Fan of Celebrities, Not a Celebrity Speaker

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motivational speaker

Some motivational speakers have a hidden agenda – read on to find out about their technique.



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.  


Looking for a motivational speaker for your event? Contact me here.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Humorist, Seminar Leader

For you folks who prefer to read, here’s the transcript to the video:

Hey, it’s Brad Montgomery and I’ve got something to tell you about what I hate about motivational speakers. Alright, what I hate about motivational speakers doesn’t apply to all speakers. It applies to some of them and when you’re picking a speaker, you might as well know ahead of time what to look for.

One of the things I hate about some motivational speakers is their whole game, their whole plan during that entire keynote speech is to pry your wallet out of your pants or your purse, to pry it open and to pry out that credit card so you can sign up for their coaching or their seminar or their boot camp or whatever. I don’t have any problem, by the way, with seminars and boot camps and all that stuff. What I do have a problem with is motivational speakers who don’t motivate you to do anything other than give them money.

Well, they have a lot of techniques. These are really bright people. Some of them are my good friends. I don’t mind telling you. They’re really good people, but they just have a crazy business model and their business model involves this technique.

The technique is don’t tell you what you need to know. Don’t give you the answers to the questions you have. Don’t help you with your concerns and your problems. Instead, they kind of label your pain and they dig at it a little bit and they say, wouldn’t it be great if you had relief from this pain and then they say, and you can. You can buy this product. You can buy this service. Right?

So in other words, they don’t help you. All they do is they’ll help you label the problem, they tell you how great you would feel, how much better off you would be, how much richer you would be, how much healthier you would be, how much happier you would be if you didn’t have that problem and then they tell you the answer to that problem is in their product.

Alright, to me, that’s just crap. Here’s why. My clients hire me to deliver value for their audiences. They want me to come and create lasting behavior change for their organization, their people, their company, whatever. And that means that my job is to come in and give it to them.

My job is not to hold back, whereas these other motivational speakers’ job is to sell. Their job isn’t to create lasting change, their job is to sell crap that may or may not create lasting change. That means, they come in there and all they do is they get you excited and you feel great and you, oh my gosh and really in the end, you realize, I didn’t get anything. I didn’t get anything.

What I got was these unbelievably talented speakers who use very clever, honed techniques to make me feel like what I got and really all you got was motivated to buy the next thing, the next package, the next service, the next DVD series, whatever. That makes me crazy.

Alright, just a pet peeve. I just happened to be invited to work for a seminar and that was their business model. It was a weird deal. They are bringing in speakers who are getting paid zippo, but they’re happy to be paid zippo because they are going to be selling from the platform. They’re going to be selling their coaching and their whatever, but they wanted me to come and master of ceremonies, to emcee the whole thing and also to motivate them generally.

So it was a weird thing. They wanted me to actually give value and set them up for these other speakers who were not going to give value, they were going to give a sales pitch. They were going to give motivation to spend and in the end, I just didn’t feel like that was a good fit for me because it just felt icky. It just felt icky.

Hire A Motivational Speaker That Delivers Real Value

Alright, if you want to go to a boot camp, go to a boot camp. You want to buy a training series from people that you think can teach you, do it. But when you’re booking a speaker, what I want you to do is really consider whether or not that speaker is going to give you value and help move your people to where they need to be moved and to where you want them to be moved or if that speaker is going to motivate them to get out their credit card and sign up for some crazy stuff.

Alright, it’s Brad Montgomery at Are you looking for a motivational speaker who delivers real value? I don’t even offer a boot camp. I don’t even have a DVD training series because I believe I give it to you on the platform. Alright, love to be your guy. Call us today.