What to look out for when booking a motivational speaker

Multiple Guinness World Record holder, serial Adventurer & Fundraiser Jamie McDonald is renowned for being one of the most talented motivational speakers in the world.

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It’s a tough one, a big one, and if you don’t pick the right speaker, it can be a disaster for an event, so here’s some tips and tricks to make sure you pick the right motivational, inspirational speaker for your event.

In fact, I’ve got a simple secret to make sure you absolutely do pick the right one.

Before I do that though, I’d like to give you the heads up in what a minefield it looks like at picking the right speaker for you.

I’ve broken them down into three different bracket kinds…

= The Wannabe Speakers =

Id say about a staggering 50% of the motivational speaking industry are made up of ‘wannabe’ speakers (yes, you heard me right, the ones that give themselves their own job title on LinkedIn – to be fair, it’s a pretty cool job title so who could blame them?!)

Anyhow, you’ll need to try and stay away from these and don’t touch them with a barge poll.

= The Good Speakers =

Then I’d say you have around 45% that are really good speakers in their own right. They’ll get the job done, they’ll be easy to work with and most importantly, your audience will be happy.

= The Top Notch Speakers =

Then you have 5% (maybe even less) that can blow the roof off of any audience. That means everyone is happy and your audience at the end of the event say ‘that was the best event EVER’.

I don’t know about you, but I like numbers and odds and right now, the mission is to get you the ‘top notch speaker’, but to get that, it’s a 1 / 20 chance. I know, rubbish odds huh?!

So for this blog, what I’m going to do when you’re looking for a speaker is break each factor down so you know what you’re looking for when picking. Simple? It really is that easy.

I’ll take you through each step in a matter of importance, the first being the least amount of importance, right the way through till the end where I’ll leave you with my full proof secret that guarantees you a brilliant speaker. So first up…


Does the motivational, inspirational or keynote speaker you’re looking for have credibility?

What I mean by this, if you’re looking at getting a hard core business speaker, have they succeeded in their own business? That’s not a speaker business, a real business that they’ve sold for billions?! Okay okay, billions might be a little to big, but you get my drift?

Let’s try again, if you’re looking for a motivational speaker on resilience, are you going to then book a speaker who pulls rabbits out of a hat as some kind of illusion? I’m not actually kidding here, these speakers are on the market and they really do exist.

Final thoughts on cred: is credibility an absolute necessary? Yes and no. It hugely helps to have credibility, the audience will take them seriously, but I’ve still seen many speakers with hardly any credibility, still be a fabulous speaker because they know how to be relatable. And equally, I’ve seen a speaker who won 5 gold medals at the Olympics deflate a room. So it’s not all about credibility.


When a speaker says, ‘oh I don’t use slides’ hit the alarm bell and get out of there as fast as you can, your ship is about to sink!

Now don’t get me wrong, amazing speakers can still blow it out of the water with no slides, but amazing speakers also know that making their talk the best it can be is without a doubt, making it visual. It’s scientifically proven that you’ll have a much lasting inspirational impact on someone’s memory with a presentation that has slides, videos and imagery.

Final thoughts on slides: if you hear at any point a speaker doesn’t use slides, ask them why. And when they look at you calmly and say “oh I don’t need them.” Look at their forehead, it’s likely that it’s dripping with sweat  as they try to convince you their the speaker for you.

booking a motivational speaker uk


If you’re reading the speakers website, is it concise? Does it deliver ‘topics’, ‘themes’ and solves problems within the world?

You’ll quickly see that when you read their website, is it about them, or is it about your needs as an event planner?

Final thoughts: as a rule of thumb, I’d say this is normally a good way of sifting out the speakers that make it all about themselves, instead of all about you and the audience, but it does come with a risk, they might have a great marketer in their camp that’s making them look better than they really are!


Strapped for time and need to book right away? Watching a quick two minute highlight reel video about the speaker might be enough to give you a strong incite in what you’re booking, BUT, a couple of things to look out for…

  1. Has the video been made professionally?
  2. Or is it a homemade-style video?

Remember, speaking is a high paid job for the good ones, so if the video is even close to a homemade video, that should be a red flag! You know I like my red flags!

Final thoughts: if you’re strapped for time and you need to book fast, a showreel can work well, but just be slightly cautious, it is a ‘promotional’ video after all, and that means it’s supposed to make the speaker look awesome and any good video editor, can do that, so tread carefully.


Yep, you guessed right, the good old fashioned recommendations are always flipping lovely when you want a job done well.

Just remember, who ever is recommending just ask them lots of questions like ‘how did they make the audience feel?’ And you’ll still need to do some online stalking (euh, I mean research), just to make sure they’re the right speaker for your event.


 Are you ready for the secret? I mean REALLY ready?!

Here comes the pure wisdom (anyone would think this has come straight out of Albert Einstein brain)…

Let the drum roll please….


Boom! There it is, I’ve let you into the club.

I’ll say it again because I know what you’re thinking, it can’t be they easy? It actually is.

What will guarantee you an amazing motivational speaker is watching a raw (unedited) video of the speaker that you’re booking.

If it’s on their website, great, click play!

Now what I’m daring you to do is sit back, let go and connect with the speaker that you’re watching.

Two things will happen…

  1. You’ll either not connect and think ‘that’s not quite right’ OR
  2. You’ll lose yourself in the video. If that happens, winner winner chicken dinner!

If you’d rather not ‘connect’ and you’d like to look objectively, then you should hear the audience whale with laughter one minute and then hear silence the next (that’s when the speaker will be socking their message to the audience).

You’ll just know that they’re in that ‘top notch’ category.

Just note too, that if their video isn’t available online, just ask them! And if they don’t have anything for to watch, well, you probably know what I’m going to say here, RED FLAG.

Let’s face it, it’s you fronting up the cash, it’s totally understandable that you’d like to see that person at work.


I’d say that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Most of the factors above I hope you found helpful, as I mentioned, they all come with risks, but if you’re aware of them all, that should keep your eagle eye out for the top notch motivational speakers and if you really wholeheartedly want to know exactly what you’re booking, watch a darn video of them!

And yes, my shameless plug is about to happen, I’m a motivational speaker too (I won’t tell you what bracket I’m in, I’ll let you decide), you can book me here and yes, I do have a video for you to watch.

If you’ve enjoyed my blog, feel free to share it. Adventureman over and out x

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