The Motivational Speaking Scam!

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Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

“Yes! At last someone is talking about this”, some people are bound to say. I have no doubts as well that this might offend some people – usually the people prospering from this scam and the people who are planning to go into it! I have no apologies for my point of view, if you read with an open conscience and do your due research, you will find out that what I’m communicating here is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Two interesting discoveries struck me today! I decided to spend some time listening to a personal development audio this morning ahead of going to work. Sometimes we don’t know why we do what we do, but we have confidence that there is always a higher power at work, working in us to will and to do according to divine pleasure. This morning was no exception. For the first time, I decided to pay attention to the biography of Brian Tracy, what I heard created loads of questions in my mind, that today was going to be spent answering… little did I know!

Brian Tracy is a motivational speaker, no doubt, he’s authored books, audios, trained and spoken in over 500 companies and speaks really well. What I did not know till today, was that Brian wasn’t just a speaker, he had grown from rags to riches, not speaking, but doing all sorts of funny menial jobs and businesses. He is not talking about what he knows nothing about, his work experience and profile, from washing dishes, to digging ditches, stacking lumber working on farms, to working menial jobs in manufacturing, construction, factories even in a ship and finally in SALES from which he moved to Business Management! 20yrs after this experience he has built, managed or turned around 22 businesses. When he speaks, he’s not scamming anybody, he knows what he’s talking about.

To my utter surprise, I got into my office this morning and met a motivational speaker in my office. He lamented bitterly about how he felt that what many of them in the industry were doing was a scam. He opined that while he had all the certifications in the world, they were not really producing results. He was following his mentors and he has people following him, and he knows that it’s all just a game of deceit. After all, even Jesus was recorded to have done and taught! The reality is there are many motivational speakers and motivational speakers wannabe out there, that can’t point at anything they have done. Please tell me what are they really teaching people?

To almost crown it all up, I got into my car after 8pm to go home, and had the urge to listen to a DVD a friend shared with me earlier today. To my utter shock and disbelief, the first 5 mins of the audio were used to read the profile of the speaker. The summary of the profile was, he’s authored and sold over 50 million copies of his books, but he’s built and led over 60 businesses into worldwide growth. Again it struck me, this guy is not just speaking, he’s done, and therefore earned the right to speak. Even though I eventually researched the man and could fault his speech, he still had a lot ahead of most motivational speakers I know of. He had good and bad experience. He had a track record of sufficient experience to share with others.

Out of curiosity before I decided to lay down for the night, I decided to do a little research on one of America’s premier and most influential motivational speakers and authors- Jim Rohn( 1930–2009 ), an American motivational speaker and writer whose work helped launch or further the career of many others in the personal development industry, including Anthony Robbins, Mark Victor Hansen, Brian Tracy, and Jack Canfield. Jim Rohn was also mentored by Mr. Shoaff who also had direct influence on the early lives of Zig Ziglar and Mary Kay Ash. At the age of 25, Rohn heard a “laws of success” lecture given by Shoaff and went to work for him. I did a little research on Jim Rohn and what I discovered amazed me. Jim Rohn was broke and struggling through life, until he met with John Earl Shoaff, who decided to mentor him and introduce him to a Network Marketing Company – AbundaVita. At the age of 25, Jim Rohn began to apply the laws of success into his business and made his first million dollars 6yrs later at the age of 31! It was only after Jim had become an authority in selling that he ventured 2yrs later into responding to a request to speak, and began to speak. He shared with people what he believed were the philosophies and principles that made him successful. He didn’t speak his way to wealth.

I went further to check out great authors and highly priced speakers like Robert Kiyosaki and also discovered that the bedrock of their proclamations is the backing of quality sales experience that the first succeeded in before they began to speak. Kiyosaki learnt selling in Xerox, but opines that the best place to get this skill is by getting on board a Network Marketing company with a good development system. When you see someone who speaks for a living and not much he has done with his life before then, I can guarantee you one thing – All you are likely to get from the program is excitement. It will not translate into anything in your life, because you can’t give what you don’t have. You can talk about what you have not experienced, and fake the good successful life, but you cannot transfer what you don’t own! It’s really a case of “teacher, don’t teach me nonsense!”. Or how do you reckon that a man who teaches financial freedom does not really know what it truly means in an experiential way? How do you learn leadership from someone whose only real contact with leadership is questionable at best, minimal at most. How do you learn effectiveness from someone who is in the real sense far from effective? How do you learn life skills from someone who didn’t use any of it? How sustainable is the model of your teacher? Can you be like him? How?

I reiterate, that teaching what you have not learnt is a scam! I encourage you to challenge your speakers to share their experiences with you, what rights have they got to lead you? What do they want you to do to become as wealthy or wealthier than them? They can’t ask you to wait all your life for their kind of lucky break, what have they done with their hands? It’s important that we begin to ask these questions, or we may indeed be forced to fake it and not eventually make it. Every time I see a young man or woman that says what he wants to become is a public speaker, I feel for him. If he really wants to be a public speaker, he must first learn to be a private worker! The only thing revealed over time in the public, is the result of secret and hidden toils and travails. Our public speakers should stop deceiving our youth and start a company or become a part of one! Let them have track records littered with failure, and possibly garnished with success, let them make moves and make waves. Let them apply their skills, and prove them before serving them to unsuspecting people.

In my next article, I will share with you my further amazing discoveries about some of the most prolific and affluent public speakers in America and their views about an emerging industry. Till then, don’t learn nonsense!

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