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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

There Is No Such Thing as a Motivational Speaker

Who comes to mind when you think of motivational speakers? Some names might include Dave Ramsey, Zig Ziglar, or John Maxwell.

These speakers have had an impact on millions of people’s lives, but we’d contend that they shouldn’t be considered “motivational.” In fact, we’d go so far as to say that there is no such thing as a “motivational speaker.”

This is because motivation is always intrinsic. Sure, motivation may be inspired by external factors, but – at the heart of it – motivation is a drive from within. A person’s motivation may be a byproduct of a speaker’s words, advice, or energy. A motivated employee’s potential and passion may be lit from the presence of a strong leader, an engaged culture, or a powerful incentive. But – despite popular opinion – no one has ever motivated another. They’ve inspired others to motivate themselves.

To do this, here are some of our best tips:

  • Set an Example: You can’t inspire others if you aren’t motivated yourself. The best inspirational speakers are passionate about their content, and have enough experience on their own journeys to advise others how to handle the speed bumps.

  • Provide the Right Resources: You can’t motivate someone, but you can give them all of the tools and resources to motivate themselves. This may be tangible or, more often than not, intangible – creating a safe environment or providing advice on best practices.

  • Understand What They’re Motivated By: Everyone has their own “appreciation” language, as well as their own intrinsic motivators. Knowing someone on a personal and emotional level will let you know how to trigger this internal stimulus.

  • Check in, add accountability, and celebrate!

If you want to be an impactful leader, focus on inspiring. Your inspiration will become their motivation!

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