Stacy's Place on Earth
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Monday, March 10, 2008:
Motivational speakers
This past weekend, the company I work for hosted our summit, an event we attend every 18 months or so. This was my 4th event. Our company has about 360 employees across the country, mostly based in the Chicago area. We stayed in a really nice hotel - a Westin - that was just opened a few months ago, and the color scheme was done in tasteful shades of purple (I love purple). The food was excellent and the service was outstanding and friendly. Of course there was some grumbling on my part to be giving up my weekend, but once I got there, ingested some caffeine and saw people I haven't seen in a long time, it got better fairly quickly. I wasn't thrilled to be there, but it wasn't as bad as I tend to make it out to be.
Of course one of the platforms involves a motivational speaker, which can make or break an event. I've enjoyed most of the guest speakers, especially those with a great sense of humor, though you can tell when the "hook" in the speaker's presentation is fake or not, more propaganda than anything else - they are there to sell books. And in this world, I guess I take everything with a grain of salt. For example, Jodi had blogged about her thoughts on "The Secret", which while I tended to agree, I didn't hate it as much as she did, but then again I only read the book and didn't see the DVD or hear all the scary music. It was recommended to me by a co-worker who isn't into the "next big thing" so I didn't really have any pre-conceived notions abou it. Yeah, most of it is stuff we've heard before, and it's really not a "secret", but it was a good reminder of doing things that can bring positive change to our lives. If there is anything positive to say about it, it's that there were people who seriously incorporated parts of it into their daily lives and made it work for them. "The Secret" is not for everyone, but some people can find part that make a difference. Others have the Bible, the Koran, Kabbalah, Scientology, etc. We each have to find the path that works for us.
Anyway, as usual I got a little side-tracked. So our guestspeaker for the weekend was Steve Gilliland, who, to be honest, I'd never heard of before Saturday, though his voice is recognizable to sportsfans as he was in broadcasting for many years. He was really good, and I liked how he talked about his family, particularly his mother and how she and others have impacted his life to such a degree. He not only made me laugh, but he made me cry, too. Was his speech just a "rah rah rah" spiel orchestrated to help him sell more books? Possibly. Did I feel manipulated by his words? Not really. I liked most of what he had to say, even if it's stuff we've all heard before. Is there a speaker out there that's really fresh and new and preaching original material the audience has never heard before? Doubtful, but the thing is, we all take away something from any speaker, whether it's good or bad, and turn it into our own. I liked that he emphasized that we, each of us personally, is responsible for whether we have a good or a bad day.
True, most of us didn't want to be at that summit, but it was mandatory - suck it up and try to find something to enjoy about it. Hey, fabulous food, entertainment, a great hotel room - what's not to like? And, I won a re-furbished laptop (will be donating it since I just bought a new one) an a $200 VISA gift card - I LOVED this conference *g*
What do you think of motivational speakers: real or fake?
Have you any favorite and/or memorable speakers?
How do you feel about public speaking yourself?



  1. Sounds like an interesting weekend, Stace. And hey, you won some swag, so that's cool!

    I am completely comfortable speaking in public. I do a lot of "housekeeping" at the meetings that i run, so I need to be really comfortable at a mike. Plus, I'm bossy, so it speaks to my need to tell people what to do. Strangely, my sister would pretty much rather die than speak in public. Totally different genes, I guess.

    Best public speaker I ever heard? Probably our pastor growing up. I used to call him the Pied Piper. He's a terrific speaker. Compelling and entertaining. My dad is a great speaker too.

  2. I’m glad that your weekend turned out ok for you.

    I can speak in a group if it’s not too big and I don’t feel like I have to be “in front” of everyone. But when I do I tend to talk to fast. And when watching other people speak I’m really bad about listening to see if they say “um”. It drives me nuts when a speaker says the word “um” every other word.

  3. So, what is in the book The Secret that will make me live a much better life?

  4. Public speaking? NO WAY. NO HOW. NADA CHANCE. I stutter enough on a good day. Put me in front of two people and my face turns red and I can't even read a pre-arranged script. :o\

    The Pollyanna in my would like to think most of them are real. There are some real inspirational stories out there that can help others.
    I like the speakers who are funny. That's always the best way to keep my ADD attention.

  5. 1. Most of the speakers I've heard I felt were real. Probably because they weren't trying to sell anything. lol

    2. My favorite speaker is Liz Curtis Higgs. She has just the right combination of funny and inspirational.

    3. Well, since I happen to know you read my last post you know how I feel about this one. I like public speaking and hope to do much more of it. The last time I did it (which was probably four years ago) I was told I came across as a comedian more than an "inspirational" speaker. I took it as a compliment, but I don't think that's how it was meant. LOL

    I love how interactive your blog is! It makes it so much fun!!

  6. I am not a fan of public speaking, hence giving up the career as scientist, because as a researcher you pretty much have to become a lecturer (shudder).

    But I saw Roger Bannister speak once, at a conference on locomotion, and Terry Waite at my brother's graduation...very cool.

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