Choosing the Best Motivational Leadership Speakers

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born—that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
—Warren Bennis

Randall, an HR executive, felt that he and many other company managers possessed excellent leadership skills. However, he wanted to bring in someone who not only modeled leadership skills but could articulate exactly how to develop them—all within a captivating presentation. That was a tall order, and it called for a skilled outside speaker.

He was well-networked with senior executive’s at the most prestigious companies in the world. He learned how they would invest in training courses on business leadership for their top-performing employees. They hired the best speakers on corporate leadership to elevate their star employees to the next level. He wanted to take his employees’ success just as seriously by hiring the best speaker he could afford.

Top organizations hire top-tier speakers because they choose wisely. They know the most important criteria to look for in a corporate trainer. They choose someone who’s not just charismatic, but who instills vital knowledge and skills in employees that drives results.

When it comes to succession planning for your organization, here are three things you should keep in mind when choosing a training program for your future leaders:

  1. Get to know the style of your speaker.
    No two speakers on leadership are alike. Everyone has a different style and technique. Some are purely motivational—firing up your employees to perform—and some offer factual case studies and industry examples to show how to elevate managing skills, build a cohesive team, or maximize productivity. The best kind of leadership speaker is one who compels your people to take action but also offers them the hands-on tools they need to get started.
  2. Make sure the leadership program fits your needs.
    Prior to a talk, experienced leadership speakers will conduct research to develop a better understanding of what your company is about and what you want to achieve.For example, if you’ve identified that decision-making and delegation are two key areas that need extra attention, the speaker will work to pinpoint the specific hurdles you’ve addressed in those areas. If you need to strengthen leaders’ communication skills, that’s what your speaker will hone in on. Talking to multiple people at different levels of the organization will help the speaker understand what most needs to be addressed. The speaker will also interview star employees to learn more about the issues affecting them and what areas they’d like to strengthen to help identify additional areas for improvement.
  3. Select a leadership speaker who will follow-up after the training.
    Speakers who specialize in leadership trainings recognize that sustaining the lessons learned from the training requires follow-up. They’re willing to maintain a continuous relationship with you to give employees the mentoring they need if you desire. By doing so, they can help leaders to excel in their roles, providing valuable insight into how both leaders and the company need to grow.Ask your potential speakers what additional services they offer. Even if you’re not sure yet which extra services you need, having options gives you flexibility in your leadership development planning.

Randall secured a speaker who accomplished all of those objectives, providing ongoing leadership development to promising employees. There is no better time to plan for the future of your organization than now. It takes time to build, sharpen, polish, and perfect strong leadership. A speaker who delivers a top-notch leadership training program will prime your rising stars to become tomorrow’s top execs.

Hire the right speaker on leadership and rest assured that the future of your organization is in safe hands.

How to Book the Right Motivational Speaker

“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.” ― Gina Greenlee

Joyce, a manager at a fast-growing IT firm, had been tasked with finding the perfect motivational speaker for her company’s training seminar. She needed someone truly capable of nurturing her high-performing employees’ growth. As she surfed the web, she saw many slick websites but wondered how she could truly evaluate the quality of their work.

Selecting the right keynote speaker can mean the difference between a successful corporate conference and a colossal waste of time and money. If, like Joyce, you’re wondering how to book the right motivational speaker, you’re not alone.

Locating and booking a speaker can be overwhelming. Many speakers claim to provide keynote speeches that inspire and teach, but if you are committed to excellence, you’ll need to choose carefully. The best speakers instill not only enthusiasm, but also guidance and practical advice.

First you must determine your goal for the event. Do you wish to increase productivity among your employees or to nurture leadership in your management team, for example? Whatever your goal, you must find a keynote speaker who can deliver on it.

Want to know how to screen and book the right motivational speaker for you? Looking at these five points will help ensure you select a speaker who is the best fit for your company and your event’s objectives.

  1. Experience and credentials of the speaker.
    Although a less-experienced speaker may be more economical for your event budget, a speaker with top-notch credentials will be a better long-term investment. Which companies have hired this speaker in the past? Look for experience presenting to companies that are similar to yours in focus, philosophy, and culture. Read the testimonials on your candidates’ websites, and contact references. Look at whether the speaker has published relevant articles and books that demonstrate expertise on the issues you wish to address.
  2. Customization for the corporate training.
    To reach your conference participants, the keynote speaker must truly know your company and its people, environment, and culture. Look for someone who understands your event’s objectives and will spend significant time preparing for it by gathering information, communicating with event coordinators, and interviewing key participants. A great professional keynote speaker will be flexible, adapting the presentation to your company’s culture, your employees’ needs, and the style and tone of your event. That means when you talk with the speaker by phone or email, he should be asking you some pointed questions about your company and what you’re looking for. Choose a speaker who demonstrates that level of thoughtfulness, not someone who’s just trying to make a quick sale.
  3. Presentation format of the seminar.
    Booking the right motivational speaker means hiring someone who offers a variety of formats, from structured self-inquiry to small-group activities to facilitated audience discussions. Great speakers understand that well-chosen team-building activities can have a powerful effect on morale. Judicious use of multimedia serves as another beneficial element in a great keynote address. Strong speakers can balance video and slideshow presentations with speaking and interaction with the audience.
  4. Speaking style of the motivational speaker.
    When researching your candidates, watch a speaker’s videos of them in action. You know your company and employees, and you know what kind of speaking style will be accessible to them and their working environment. Most professional keynote speakers have videos on their websites. Watch them, and try to imagine them speaking at your event. Do they use motivational stories to create a dynamic talk, or do they dryly state their points? A speaker who races through content without pausing to gauge audience reaction can be just as ineffective as one who is plodding or hesitant. It’s important to have a speaking style that challenges and engages audiences.
  5. Immediate, measurable results for the participants.
    Conferences and seminars are designed to leave employees inspired and motivated. Your employees should be able to implement what they have learned immediately because the speaker has shown them exactly how to do that. Book a motivational speaker who will provide participants with skills that they can take straight back to their desks, so they can begin transforming your company into a more productive and profitable enterprise. In your candidates’ videos, observe whether they effectively impart new skills and tactics to their audience—and in your conversation, ask for examples!

Booking the right professional keynote speaker will make all the difference in your event, and in your company. Use these five points to choose wisely, and you’ll find a speaker who genuinely cares about driving results and has the skills to do it.

Looking to book a speaker for your next event? Hire Joel Garfinkle because he is a motivational speaker who possesses these five qualities in abundance.

Plan Corporate Training

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Patrice knew she needed to get serious about succession planning. As the Chief Human Resources Officer at a multi-billion dollar company, she had hundreds of aspiring leaders not prepared for the next level.

As part of this plan, she wanted to hire a corporate trainer to help the aspiring leaders by giving them the tools they needed for the next level. She knew her employees deserved a top-tier speaker, and she wanted someone who would provide the follow-up needed to ensure their success.

Hiring a top-notch speaker with the right expertise can change the game by shifting workplace culture. A skilled trainer can help employees break free of any undesirable patterns and fully leverage their company’s collective talent, guiding them to become great leaders.

Since she wanted to get a great return for her investment, Patrice carefully outlined a strategy for planning the training. If you’re looking for a corporate training for your company, here’s the 3-step process that the trainer should follow.

  1. Corporate training – pre-event briefing
    What happens before the actual training or event is as important as the event itself. Prior to the corporate training, a good speaker will interview company leaders and key decision-makers as well as seminar participants to understand company dynamics and employee pain points.

    The speaker might also inquire about past team-building or leadership skill-sharing initiatives, asking you to share what worked and what didn’t. By doing so, the speaker gains a deep understanding of the company culture and the people who will be attending the presentation.

    The speaker can then give your company a corporate training that will address specific concerns instead of providing a superficial cookie-cutter solution that may sound grand but leaves no impact.

  2. Corporate training – during the event.
    Effective speakers know how to train on leadership by incorporating genuine employee stories that emerged from pre-event discussions to make their arguments compelling. By sharing anecdotes, interacting with the audience, and asking questions, a good speaker ensures that participants are hanging on every word and leave fired up to work together as a team.

    But is that enough? Not if you ask an exceptional trainer. To really get the speech to “stick,” the best corporate trainers also offer the company’s employees tools to help them unravel the pain points troubling them. Along with motivation, they deliver a plan of action that directly impacts the bottom line.

  3. Corporate training – post-event process.
    So, the event was a raving success, the employees are fired up, they’re got the tools to get started—that’s the recipe for team-building success, right? Well, almost. The final ingredient to ensure that it all comes together is following up. Holding employees (and yourself) accountable is critical. Encourage employees to take on new creative projects and publicly reward those who take extra initiative. Roll up your sleeves and get involved; it says a lot about the way you lead. Email participants for feedback on the event or organize a post-event anonymous survey.

You can also invite the speaker to come back for a shorter follow-up event to reinforce the results you want. This can be done with a webinar. Finally, a great speaker might help you lay out a game plan for how to keep your team motivated and elevate their performance to higher levels.

Patrice found a speaker who understood the importance of coaching and mentoring employees as well as delivering a stellar motivational speech. The employees were ecstatic afterward, filled with the excitement of having new strategies for success and knowing their company took their growth seriously.

All corporate leadership trainings are not created equally. There’s a lot of work that goes into a uniquely designed customized seminar that fits the needs of your organization. Look for a speaker with a commitment to thorough pre-event preparation and post-event follow-up. The top candidates will not only answer your questions thoroughly, but will ask you insightful questions that show they’re working to understand exactly what you need a speaker to do. That’s the difference between a feel-good seminar and a company training that takes corporate success to a whole new level.

If you’re looking for real results, hire a corporate trainer who is a leading expert in the above 3-step process today!

Take Credit for your Work

“On great teams—the kind where people trust each other, engage in open conflict, and then commit to decisions—team members have the courage and confidence to confront one another when they see something that isn’t serving the team.”
~Patrick Lencioni~

 

Sofia was floored when during a team meeting, her coworker stood up to present a project they’d been working on together. They hadn’t planned to share their results until next week. Using materials she’d helped to create, he described it as his project and announced his results. What should I do? Sofia thought frantically.

If one of your coworkers keeps reframing your ideas as his own at meetings, or if your colleague went so far as to present your strategy to your boss, you need to take action. Avoiding conflict in such scenarios would harm the whole team. Tread carefully, though, or you could end up accused of stealing credit from others.

Here’s how to handle some common situations in which others try to take credit for your work, using key principles for getting positive results from difficult conversations.

If someone rephrases your ideas as his own…

If a coworker is continually restating points you have made at a meeting and framing them as his own, he might be doing it unconsciously. That doesn’t mean it’s okay, but it helps inform how you should respond.

  • Before saying anything, calm down. Losing your temper could make you look irrational—fair or not. Plus, you won’t get your thoughts across clearly if you’re angry.
  • Address the transgression tactfully but directly in the moment, if possible. For example, if a coworker restates your idea, say, “Yes, that’s exactly the point I was making. I’m glad you agree with the idea.”
  • If it keeps happening, approach the person one-on-one and ask if you can talk with him. Remember, if someone is repeatedly claiming your ideas as their own, it’s probably a sign of insecurity—so be gentle, or you’ll put him on the defensive. Affirm that you fully believe it wasn’t intentional, and validate the person’s contributions so acknowledging his mistake won’t feel as hard. For instance, you might say: “I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but a couple of times during the meeting, I felt you were framing X idea as your own when I introduced it earlier on. I’m happy that this idea resonated with you, because I appreciate the expertise you bring and would love to get your insight on similar ideas in the future.”
  • If the issue keeps occurring, mention it during a one-on-one meeting with your boss. Focus on your desire to strengthen working relationships, stick to the facts, and maintain a positive tone. “I think Coworker Y has many strengths, and I hope he’ll become secure enough in his own ideas that he doesn’t unconsciously lay claim to those of others,” you might say.

If someone presents your idea or success as her own…

Say you believe a coworker has stolen your idea outright, and presented it to your boss or team as her own. Or say your coworker took credit for your work on a big project. You don’t want to look like a pushover by letting it go, but you don’t want to obsess so much about the transgression that you look irrational or insecure.

  • Again, calm yourself down before taking any action so you’re fully in control of your words.
  • Try to find out if there’s any way it could have been unintentional. Maybe you were brainstorming together, and she inaccurately remembered the idea as being her own. Or maybe you worked on the project together, and she accidentally left out your contribution during a meeting out of nervousness. Talk with her one-on-one, and phrase your question in a non-accusatory way so you won’t be sabotaging a working relationship. Give her a chance to apologize, but if she doesn’t, push back, says Karen Dillon in HR Guide to Office Politics. Making it uncomfortable for her to continue the behavior will deter it from happening again.
  • Get support from other team members, if others know for certain that the idea was yours. Ask them to acknowledge your contribution in the next meeting, or in a team email. If the coworker at fault sees you have support, she may back down.
  • If the offense was truly egregious—for example, if a coworker took your name off a presentation you created and presented it as her own—meet with your boss to explain what happened, sharing evidence to support your case.

If someone repeatedly takes credit for your work…

  • Keep a log showing details about what happened and when.
  • Find out if colleagues have experienced the same behavior from this coworker. Gather your evidence of the transgressions.
  • Talk to your boss about the situation, along with any other coworkers who have been affected. Stay collected and share evidence, if you have it. Rather than badmouthing the coworker at fault, focus on your desire to feel heard and to create a harmonious office dynamic.
  • Help create a culture of sharing credit by always highlighting the contributions of others.

Preventing idea theft

Work to prevent theft of your ideas by documenting them well. If you share them, share them with more than one person so you don’t end up in a “he said/she said” scenario. Better yet, share them electronically, so there’s a record.

Remember, too, that one idea isn’t everything. You’ll have other great ideas, and you can be more conscientious about how to share them in the future. Don’t fixate so much on remedying this issue that it keeps you from shining in other ways, or makes you look petty. If you focus on the future, others will notice your stellar performance and give you plenty of credit for it!

Contact leadership coach Joel for more advice on promoting your work and building a strong reputation.

Celebrate Failure

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
~Thomas Edison~

Trevor wanted his people to be pillars of innovation and creativity. When he came to me for coaching around innovation, he mentioned how fearful his team was in taking risks and possibly touching failure. I asked him, “What are you doing to celebrate failures?” Like many leaders, he had no answer. We then looked at some fun ways that corporate leaders have learned to take their failures and celebrate them. In doing so, they help their most creative people to develop exciting new ideas.

Celebrating your failures is just as important as celebrating your success. Here’s some ideas for you.

  1. Hold an Idea Funeral
    Holding an idea funeral is a fun way to learn from the failure as a group, as Annabel Acton says in an Inc. article. Take turns eulogizing the idea or project you’re “burying,” sharing lessons learned. Focus on its merits as well as the reasons it ultimately failed. This creates a culture of trying out new ideas and learning from the results. “Startup funerals” have taken off as well, as budding entrepreneurs are increasingly embracing failure as a stepping-stone to success.
  2. Create a Fail Wall
    The finance website NerdWallet creates a “Fail Wall” where mistakes are posted, emphasizing that everyone fails and honoring outside-the-box thinking. Why not set up a “Fail Wall” in your own workplace? Give it a brightly colored banner and encourage people to write down their failures on post-it notes and stick them on the wall.
  3. Give a Heroic Failure award
    Advertising company Grey gives a “Heroic Failure” award to employees who take ambitious risks and go down in flames. Giving this award changes the culture of feeling shame or humiliation if a risk doesn’t pan out. Rather than letting failure become part of people’s identity, they become branded as risk-takers.
  4. Hold a “F— Up Night”
    In a popular social meetup event called “F— Up Nights,” a handful of entrepreneurs tell their stories about failure, followed by a Q&A session. These events been held in over 250 cities across 80 countries. Hold a similar event with your own people, encouraging everyone to take a turn at the mic. If it’s a hit, hold a series of them so everyone gets time to share and ask questions. Find a fun way to host the event outside of the office, like reserving a large room at a restaurant or finding a community space that hosts performances.
  5. Record What You’ve Tried
    Keep a track record of failures, with detailed information about what people tried. Just as a failed cancer drug proved incredibly useful for managing the AIDS virus, a past failure can become a wild success in a different context. Take notes on why the idea failed—it might succeed under the right conditions, or if certain aspects of it are revamped.

It’s most fitting to celebrate failures related to innovation, rather than execution, Harvard Business Review points out. You want to celebrate the failures that show you took a leap. If someone failed to follow through on a task, you obviously won’t want to throw a party. If she gave her all in a new project and it just didn’t achieve the desired results, that’s different. Celebrating those kinds of failures will help your people learn to fail gracefully, growing from the experience.

Most importantly, stop thinking—and talking—in terms of “win/lose.” When you eliminate the shame around failure, and show it’s okay to be vulnerable, people can talk about it. That means they can learn from it, finding the germ of a great idea within it.

Want more advice on boosting creativity and innovation in your company? Hire leadership coach Joel Garfinkle so he can help you develop and implement ideas that get results.