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markis
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I work for a very large insurance financialinstitution and our HR department brought in a corporate motivational type speaker that did magic. He did the Professor nightmare, a few single productions, paper balls over the head and a few other standards. His patter was geared toward thinking outside the box, improving productivity, acceptance of change, etc. (Those of you that work in the Corporate world or fans of the Dilbert cartoon know what I am talking about) He was polished but it was nothing great. Even my non-magic co-workers thought it was..OK. Anyway… I do a search on the guy’s name and all sorts of motivational speaker websites come up that list this guy as someone that can come to your organization to speak for $5000! That’s $5000 dollars of tricks done at a birthday party but with a canned patter geared toward the corporate world. My question is..how much does this guy get of the 5k?
RayBanks
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Well, it depends on the deal he made.

If he's good enough (or perceived to be good enough) to rate $5K per day he probably also gets travel, lodging and meals. So, he pockets the whole amount.

If he works through an agent, the agent will take a piece 10-20%.

It all depends on his contract.
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markis
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I'm in the wrong business
rsummer27
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Something I've found is that anytime someone comes in to speak to a group of people at work they will almost always think that he is only OK. Not many people get excited about getting a motivational speech at work.

Most of the time a speaker comes in he leaves the employees feeling like he wasted most of their morning telling them things that are already painfully obvious. After walking out of a meeting like that most people think they can hit the public speaking circuit and make tons of easy money.

The reality is that is a hard market to crack. It's not very rewarding either. No one wants to be in those meetings. It doesn't matter if you put on a full illusion show with car productions and girls in skimpy costumes. Most people will still feel like they have wasted the morning.

If you still want to give it a go, mention to you boss that you are working on your presentation skills and you would like to speak at the next meeting. You don't have to metion magic, just let it be a surprize during your presentation.
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markis
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Rsummer, you are correct with the mental attitude of the audience.
Donald Dunphy
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Markis -

It sounds like you are jealous of the fact that this other entertainer got paid the money that he does, for the presentation that he did. Is this true?

If it is, then please let me suggest that is a poor reason to get into corporate speaking.

I am sure that Steve Hart ( http://www.magic2motivate.com ) and others will tell you to get into corporate speaking because you have your own message that you want to tell.

Although the money is certainly an important by-product of doing this sort of thing, your first order of business should be about caring about the customer, providing value, doing a quality show, having a message that impacts, etc.

If you feel that you have a better message within you, that will leave a deeper impact than you got, that might be a fine reason to do this. Only you know your real reason for being interested in this area of magic.

- Donald.

P.S. I am not trying to judge you, I just want you to think first. Thanks.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Jim Snack
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Let me correct a few things discussed here.

First, I know of no speaker bureau that charges a 10%-20% as a commission. The standard is 25%, but several of the larger bureaus have even gone to 30%.

And while it is true that the fee typically does not cover travel expenses, that too is changing. Meeting planners now seem to prefer an all-inclusive fee so they know upfront what their costs will be.

Furthermore, while a speaker's fee may be listed at $5000, like the hotel industry, that is his "rack rate." Savvy meeting planners know that in today's marketplace, characterized by an over supply of speakers and an under supply of meetings, speaker fees are very negotiable. I seriously doubt that the speaker you described gets $5000 everytime he goes out the door, particularly when he delivers the kind of outcome you described.

Rsumer27, you are correct. Any speaker that simply does a few tricks and delivers a few canned motivational cliches is not going to get people excited about the motivational speech. If he "leaves the employees feeling like he wasted most of their morning telling them things that are already painfully obvious," then I predict he will not last long in the speaking business.

The industry has changed dramatically in the last few years and speakers are being held to much higher standards. To succeed, one must have a great deal of valuable content and have expertise in a particular area, delivering information and solutions to pressing business concerns.

Furthermore, that information must be delivered by someone with exceptional platform skills. Anything less will produce the kind of reaction you described.

Yes, it is a hard market to crack, but it can be very rewarding, if, and only if, you can make a difference in people's lives. If you can do that, people will not feel as if you have wasted their morning.

If you can't, then you are in the wrong business.
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
markis
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I’m not jealous. Well maybe I am but not in a bad way. I think it’s great that magicians can make some decent money like this. It actually gives me hope and some incentive.
The reason I came across a bit perturbed is due to my company’s message that in order to save a buck in these troubled economic times they need to restructure the pay scale, promotions, add more external assistance from India, etc. but yet we have 5K to pay for a for a motivational speaker. I digress…
cloneman
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Actually, The Gr8 DonaldD, I think both rsummer27 and markis are correct in their assessment of the perceived value of motivational speakers. I’ve spent much of my professional life in a corporate environment, and have been subjected to countess motivational speakers. I can honestly say that not one of them added value to my career or my life. And, yes, I and anybody who I chatted with after the speaker was through felt that our time had been wasted by an overenthusiastic, cliché-spouting, Anthony Robbins clone.

And Jim, I’ve worked at some pretty heavy-hitting financial, entertainment, and law firms which could afford the best speakers in the industry. You may see a “dramatic change” in that industry recently, but I haven’t seen it.

Bottom line, no busy employee wants to waste time in a corporate speaking event. If you’re a professional employed by a fortune 500 company, chances are that you’re going to be insulted by a speaker who doles out the platitudes (if I hear one more speaker telling me to “think outside the box” I’m going to stuff him in a sub-trunk and nail the trap door shut! Smile )

What corporate employees want is specific information they can use. If your speaking to lawyers about customer service, don’t tells us to “provide value,” that’s meaningless. Give us specifics about how to increase value through providing additional services for free, sending out client advisories, cross-selling, etc. And cite examples on how a trust and estates attorney would do this differently than a litigator.

If you can’t provide industry specific information, in my opinion, you are wasting the employees time and the corporation’s money. But hey, maybe the magic is entertaining.
"Anything is possible... if you don't know what you are talking about."
Jim Snack
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Thomas,

You have hit the nail on the head. "What corporate employees want is specific information they can use....specific." That's the change I am referring to. Providing real value to your clients, not just entertainment

Unless that's why they are hiring you, in which case, don't sell yourself as a "motivatioanl speaker."
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Donald Dunphy
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Thomas -

I am not sure what you are saying to me. I was trying to discourage anyone from getting into it for the wrong reasons. Do you disagree with that?

And I was trying to encourage him to seek out resources like Steve Hart's website and training program (where Jim Snack is an instructor), so he will be properly trained to do material that is relevant to his customer's needs. Find a better message through better training.

Jim and you said it so much better! Be market specific. Be results specific.

I was not saying that all motivational speakers are terrific, and worth their fee. I can't make generalizations based on lack of information.

- Donald.

P.S. By the way, I am not a corporate entertainer / speaker. I have a couple of motivational magic shows that I've created for schools, and I guess my gospel shows have been viewed by some of my customers as motivational as well. But those messages came from the inside out. I stand behind them, and they are specific to the needs of those customers, and the results they desire.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
cloneman
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Perhaps what I have an issue with is the idea of “motivational speaking” in a professional corporate context. In my experience listening to motivational speakers, conveying a “message that impacts,” is simply not valuable to me or to any of my colleagues who have sat with me as we stole glances at our watches waiting for the speaker to wrap up..

Let me elaborate: when I read a phrase like “message that impacts” I think of speakers giving lectures around themes like “thinking outside the box,” “your customer is your only asset,” “work smarter, not harder,” and other oversimplified business rules, which frankly, I find patronizing.

Distinguish the above from a lecture which talks about “how to increase widget industry sales through the use of a strategic marketing campaigns, cross promotions, and targeting of underserved markets.” If a speaker giving the later talk can give me specific examples of underserved markets to target for my business, I will sit up and take notice, regardless of whether of not he is pulling rabbits from his hat. However, I wouldn’t call this speech “motivational,” I’d call it an effective speech on a specific topic, e.g. marketing for the widget industry.

I apologize if I came across strongly in my last post, but I am one professional who feels that my time has been wasted by too many “message” driven speakers, not enriched by enough “specific advice” speakers.

Jim – I would love to see this change. So far neither my colleagues, nor I have. If you could find a way to tap into the specific problem areas of an industry, and, like a consultant, provide useful solutions, you would have an amazing speaker.
"Anything is possible... if you don't know what you are talking about."
Donald Dunphy
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Sorry, I just can't speak into your concerns, because I am not qualified. I don't do the shows you speak of, and I haven't really seen shows like that either.

I think I'll just sit back and watch for a while, if it's ok with you.

- Donald. Smile
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
cheesewrestler
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Quote:

What corporate employees want is specific information they can use. If your speaking to lawyers about customer service, don’t tells us to “provide value,” that’s meaningless. Give us specifics about how to increase value through providing additional services for free, sending out client advisories, cross-selling, etc. And cite examples on how a trust and estates attorney would do this differently than a litigator.

If you can’t provide industry specific information, in my opinion, you are wasting the employees time and the corporation’s money. But hey, maybe the magic is entertaining.



But if you had that sort of information to offer, wouldn't you be better off as a consultant anyhow? That's just a whole different specialty from speaking - which isn't a common skill to have, or an easy one to acquire, as witness the "mehhh" reactions reported above.

Entertainment is not without value in the corporate environment. If there needs to be a corporate tie-in to "justify" it ... well, OK.

As long as it really is entertaining ... just adding smokepots & laser effects to the same old same old isn't entertaining.

Not really off-topic: check out the first part of a movie called "Heavyweights" (on Disney channel from time to time) for Ben Stiller's excellent portrayal of the type of motivator you don't (hopefully) want to be.

Somebody somewhere must have done a study tracking employee productivity before & after motivational speaker appearances. Can anybody cite such?
markis
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Great thread guys! I appreciate the feedback and thoughts
Jim Snack
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Most motivational speakers are "event speakers," hired to provide a program for a specific event such as an association conference. The result often sought by the meeting planner is simply an uplifting program that leaves people feeling good. Or a speaker might be hired because he or she is a celebrity who will help sell registrations to the conference.

In that context, an entertaining program with a light message is appropriate, as long as that is what the meeting planner wants.

In a corporate setting, however, the desired outcome is often something more measureable, such as "how to increase widget industry sales through the use of a strategic marketing campaigns, cross promotions, and targeting of underserved markets.” In that setting a general motivational speaker is probably inappropriate.

Any competent speaker would always clarify the needs and wants of the meeting planner, as well as the needs and wants of the target audience (no, they are not the same) before accepting the engagement. In fact, it may be more appropriate to recommend someone with more specific industry experience for a particular meeting, as I sometimes will do.

Furthermore, if you want to affect employees on a deeper level, it will take more than just one motivational talk. It will probably take an extended consultant relationship, involving speaking, training, coaching, tele-seminars, web based training, or a combination of all the above.

That's why the industry is changing. The general motivational speaker is losing ground to "experts who speak with eloquence."

Regarding any studies of employee productivity before and after motivational speaker appearances: it is unlikely that you will find any. That's because the result is more likely an emotional response, rather than a specific measureable behavour change.

A good motivational speaker will identify the specific concerns of employees, i.e. "find the pain," then offer hope for a better future, or as one of my favorite top speakers, Roxanne Emmerich says, "get them to throw their hearts over the bar."

That probably won't show up in a post event survey, but it can do wonders for employee morale.
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
mdspark
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Thomas,
You have discribed my experience EXACTLY..As a psychologist that has worked "within" organizations..i.e. Vocational Rehab, State Corrections/Penal system... your observations hold up in my "niche" as well...Too many Anthony Robbins clones, cliches and over simplifications witout addressing the issues in the empoyees' real world... YUCK.
cheesewrestler
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Quote:
On 2004-05-26 19:58, Jim Snack wrote:
Most motivational speakers are "event speakers," hired to provide a program for a specific event such as an association conference. The result often sought by the meeting planner is simply an uplifting program that leaves people feeling good.
<...>
That probably won't show up in a post event survey, but it can do wonders for employee morale.


That sums up my experience & feelings (which so far are those of an audience member).

There is such a thing as "the corporate grind." Hiring a speaker who can relieve that for a while, provide some interesting entertainment, give people something to talk about, seems like a worthwhile use of $5k or so.

Heck, if I were running a company with more than say a thousand employees, I think I'd consider hiring a Corporate Clown. Really.

Maybe the guy referred to in the first post - regardless of his fee - just wasn't very good? If so, it wouldn't be the first time a company spent money on an outside expert who wasn't worth it. I mean, it's hard to go wrong with paper balls over the head if you're any good.
Steve Hart
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Thomas, I know what you are talking about and I am sorry you have never received any value from a motivational speaker's program.

That is why Jim and I belong to an organization like National Speaker's Association. To learn how to properly deliver a program that can add value and not just entertain or bore our audiences.

When I created the magic2motivate training program this was one of my objectives. To raise the bar and teach magicians that motivational magic has to move people to take action, think differently, and change their behavior. Otherwise it is just another magic show.


Steve Hart
www.SteveHartSpeaks.com
www.magic2motivate.com
"Motivational Magicians are some of the highest paid magicians, find out why?"
Jim Snack
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Steve is right.

I have to tell you that when Steve proposed his idea of doing a "magic2motivate" seminar, my immediate reaction was, "Don't do it! The speaking industry doesn't need any more motivational speakers with a couple of tricks and a few platitudes."

Steve's response was, "Jim, they are going to enter the field anyway, let's make sure they do it right."

I've had the pleasure of speaking at three of his seminars. As Steve says, our goal is to "raise the bar."

Steve, you should make reading this post mandatory at your future seminars. When is the next one? I want to visit beautiful Cocoa Beach, Florida again!
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
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