As a business owner, it’s your job to motivate employees. Consistent motivation is what drives and influences workers, particularly when challenges arise. It’s often difficult, however, for a single person to effectively motivate a large group of workers over a long period of time. Workers might get tired of hearing the same message from the same person. A motivational speaker can fire up your team and bring different opinions, information and perspectives to your workforce. But before you shell out the money for a motivational speaker, consider some of the pros and cons.
A Good Speaker Can Spark New Ideas
The best motivational speakers don’t just talk the talk but have walked the walk. They are people who’ve worked in your industry and had success. Rather than spouting off platitudes about hard work and "coffee is for closers," they can impart actionable ideas. This, more than motivation itself, might be the biggest value of a motivational speaker.
Let’s say you run a small business selling fuel cards to trucking companies. You have a sales force of a dozen people who call on small and medium-sized fleets, trying to convince them to switch to your brand of cards. Many of them are struggling and morale is waning. So you bring in a speaker from the trucking industry, a guy who started with a single truck and over the years built his company into a regional powerhouse.
As a rags-to-riches success, the speaker has a great story to tell. He’s lived the struggle and can relate to your floundering salespeople. By sharing the keys to his success, he can help them turn their fortunes around.
Even better, he knows the industry. Running a trucking company, he and his drivers have doubtlessly used many fuel cards. He’s had many salespeople call him, some successful, others not so much. He can relate some of these stories, painting a clear and industry-specific picture of the types of sales tactics that do and don’t work.
There’s a good chance your salespeople come out not only motivated by the speaker’s uplifting story, but with some new strategies to use on their next sales call.
An Entertaining Speaker Makes Work Conferences and Meetings Less Dreary
An annual, bi-annual, or quarterly all-hands-on-deck meeting or conference can benefit a growing business. It gets employees on the same page and brings them up to speed on happenings within the company. But for most workers, such events are about as fun as a bad Tinder date. Consequently, they often stay disengaged the entire time, meaning they get little benefit from the information presented.
How can you, the business owner, engage your employees at work conferences? Short of paying them bonuses to show up and stay awake, options are limited. But one method that can work is bringing in an entertaining speaker. Even better if it’s someone your employees have heard of and admire.
For instance, many pro athletes hit the speaking circuit once they retire. Even current players often speak during the offseason to rake in extra cash. Because athletes by nature tend to be highly competitive and driven, they usually know how to motivate. They have great stories from their playing days, and they’ve often faced and overcome adversity at various points in their careers.
The speaker you choose doesn’t have to be an athlete. You know your workers better than anyone. Perhaps they’re more into books or art than sports. The point is, by finding a speaker who excites them and also has useful wisdom to impart, you can turn a humdrum event into a high-energy, successful affair.
A Speaker’s Impact Can Fade Quickly, Though
The challenge with motivational speakers is finding one who can have a lasting impact.
Here’s what happens too often. You hire a speaker who you’ve heard gives a rousing, motivational talk. Your employees file into the auditorium and the presentation begins. Sure enough, the speaker is as advertised. Your team is wide awake, engaged, hanging on every word. By the time it’s over, they’re so fired up they are practically fist-pumping.
Over the next 24 or 48 hours, though, the real world rears its ugly head. Workers go home to messy houses, misbehaving kids and exasperated spouses. At the office the next morning, the coffee machine breaks. Sales deals that were slam dunks fall apart, causing frustration and discouragement.
Slowly, the message of the speech, which had them chomping at the bit just a couple days ago, begins to fade to an imperceptible volume. Any effects it had were too short-lived to provide even a modest bump in productivity.
That’s why it’s important to find a speaker who not only motivates but has an actionable message. The energy bump fades, and probably in short order. But if your team holds onto even one or two useful nuggets of information, your return on investment could be positive.
Final Verdict: Consider a Speaker, but Tread With Caution
The right motivational speaker can offer lasting benefits to your workforce. Just don’t expect a panacea. This isn’t a sports movie where the coach gives a galvanizing halftime speech and his team that’s down 35-0 storms the field in the second half and comes back to win against a far superior opponent.
If your business is down and out, it’ll take more than a good speech to get things back on track. Even so, an inspiring speaker, especially one carrying a specific, actionable message, can be a valuable piece of the puzzle.