Friday, February 25, 2011

Motivational Speaking - Can it Really Help Improve Your Life? The Power of the Spoken Word!

I am the worlds most dedicated seeker of good motivational speakers and motivational writers! I have always read anything I could get my hands on like, The Power of Positive Thinking, See You At the Top, What color is your Parachute, The Psychology of Selling, The One Minute Manager, Seven Habits of Effective Managers and on and on. I have attended numerous workshops and seminars on self-improvement in my professional, personal and spiritual life.

The one thing I always wished while attending one of those workshops was to be able to bottle up the feelings of power and enthusiasm I immediately felt myself springboard to. I would then as I felt the decline of power or enthusiasm be able to let a little bit of it out every couple of weeks to regain that high. You know what I mean capture it in a test tube, cork it and let a little out when I need it. I have been in the public speaking arena now for 20 years and still get an adrenaline rush at the onset of a new workshop. I see the changes that it makes everyday in people and experience the enhancements they enjoy using in their walks of life.

What makes us motivate? Is it the story telling and spice that speakers use when imparting their topics to us hoping to persuade us to align with their current theory or situations? Or do we just desire the same situations in our life styles. I think it's probably a combination of the two. I believe as human beings we have different motivations based on our experiences and reward systems. So we tend to migrate to the subjects we like and stay away from the ones we don't. So why do we walk out with such a high and in two or three weeks go back to our old state of mind and do the same habits we have always done. Are we such creatures of habit that we can't change unless some monumental occurrence takes place? You know the kind of change forcing us to awaken the sleeping giants lying dormant in each and everyone of us. The switches motivational experts activate through their rapid tongues and volleying of emotions?

Over the years I have seen public speakers eloquently portray their lives and theories to their audience with spice, embellishment and factual storytelling effectively touching their crowds. Orators do this in an effort to attain the immediate gratifications or affirmations they seek by seeing your validations. I have to tell you there are many that walk their talk and talk their walk. I have also witnessed the opposite though you know those that are verbal gymnast (I mean in the negative sense- someone who is intoxicated in the exuberance of their own verbosity) and talk just to hear themselves talk. Now the real question is do they really make a life changing impression on us?

The truth of the matter as I see it is - how hungry are you for the change? Life can have a redundancy factor and the level of change is really based on your own biases and prejudices you have accumulated in your lifetime. Let's take goal setting as an example. We all set goals for ourselves in some way or another. Just eating fulfills your basic goal to survive but that can be distorted and abused easily as we have seen over and over again.

I remember attending a time management seminar where the author and trainer used monkeys in his analogy to illustrate his theory of time management. In general he told us that we needed to control the monkeys on our backs to adjust time management. You can do that by feeding them, training them or letting them jump on to somebody else's back i.e. get the monkey off your back. By having them jump to another persons back you delegate there maintenance programs to someone else. He was quite effective in his analogies. Another program I attended was on goal planning where the instructor gave us an acronym of A.B.M.D, which when broken down stood for is the goal achievable, believable measurable, and could we set a deadline. I still use that technique today by the way.

I attended a three day workshop down in the hill country in Texas where at one point we had to get into our hotel room turn off all of the lights and lay naked under the covers for meditation. At first it was a strange feeling but different methods are used all over the country to get us to focus our minds and bodies in the moment. Then there is the method of mindfulness stress reduction where through some diaphragmatic breathing exercises, yoga positions or even mental gyrations it helps to center us. PBS programs schedule self-improvement gurus regularly to help blend the new methods into our new paradigms of existence.

I am a training psychologist and have studied the human mind for the last 20 plus years and still marvel at the human ability to change our surroundings or environments by concentration and mindfulness. It's probably not a coincidence that the sports business conference held in Florida this December had as its annual conference keynote speaker a well known neuroscientist. His particular address covered the new mind body relationship technology now being used in the business industry to become more efficient and productive. Its no secret that our minds are being taxed more today to buffer the toxic climates found in our work, educational, technical and business arenas we are living in. The standard for expert motivational speakers to be more adept to the multi tasking required in the information overload society we live in today demands the expert motivational speaker to fine tune his or her skills to be able to survive.

Motivational speakers, consultants, and trainers are trained today to give us a true ability to cope with the many challenges facing all of us in our world. We have to maintain a positive and optimistic approach to change in everything we do or every thing we are involved in today. We have had throughout the century's motivators in religion, business, personal, physical and educational. Today however their pursuit to be more effective is determined on their ability to adapt to the mind body relationship.

So does motivation come from within or do we glean it from the professional orators on the platforms today? I truly believe we must pull from both factions and use the soft tools that are available to us to perform at the levels demanded of us in today's arena. We are being challenged everyday to improve ourselves either in our jobs, personal or spiritual needs assessment that we should take as often as we can. Life can always be fun as long as we challenge ourselves to be better. It's like a poem I use in my workshop to end it and it goes like this:

"When you get what you want in your struggle for self and the world makes you King for the day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself and see what that man has to say.
It's not your father, your mother, or even your wife who's Judgment upon you must pass,
But the man whose verdict counts most in this life is the man looking back from the glass.
For some may call you a square shooting chum and others a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you are only a bum if you can't look him straight in the eye.
He's the one to impress never mind the rest for he's there with you clear up to the end,
And then you will have passed your most difficult test when the man in the glass is your friend.
You May fool the whole world down your pathways of years & get pats on your back as you pass,
But your final rewards will be heartache and tears if you have cheated the man in the glass".

I use this to end the memory workshop I teach. I try to hook them into their individual challenges they each face but also to help them to go out and teach their newly learned skills to friends, family or associates. The old school of achieve, compete and hold possessively tight to your talents without sharing them is making way for the information highway now available via the Internet. One of the new theories is share, share, share and share some more!

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