Tag Archives: Kelly Swanson Motivational Speaker

“How Passionate Business Storytelling Makes a Message Unforgettable” by Kelly Swanson

Your StoryI was speaking to a group of hotel managers in a program on how to motivate their employees to provide better customer service. In the opening, I pointed out that according to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 34.1 percent of American workers are engaged in the workplace.

And then I told them a story. It was about a woman I had heard singing as she worked in a hospital, and how I had heard her voice all the way from the parking lot. “Some sweet morning, when this day is over, I’ll fly away.” They were loud, staccato, jubilant notes of a life well lived.

When the automatic glass doors to the building opened, I could see her standing there holding her mop as if it were a beloved dance partner, as if her faded cotton dress were made of the finest silk. I watched her all throughout the day as she touched the lives of many. In the cold antiseptic corners of that hospital I saw pain find healing, watched sorrow meet comfort, and saw hopelessness find hope all wrapped up in a faded cotton dress and comfortable shoes.

That day, a woman full of blessings who smelled of bleach showed me what service looks like—and it didn’t come in a list, but in an attitude. The program continued on, and at the end I asked my audience who among them could remember what I had mentioned earlier about the poll and the percentage of employees it indicated were engaged in the workplace. Two hands went up. Then I asked if anyone could remember the song the woman in my story was singing.

Almost every hand went up. Nobody could remember the fact, but everyone remembered the story. That showed me how facts aren’t tied to emotions—but a story is. It is the greatest tool we have to connect and engage. Are all stories equal? No. I’ve watched speakers tell stories that captivated the entire room, and I watched them tell stories that put everybody to sleep.

Just having a story is not good enough. Apply the following tips to your stories and watch what happens. Understand how and why story works. Once you understand the psychology behind stories and their impact, it gets easier to write the ones that are most effective for you.

It starts with an understanding that listeners don’t take action without first having a visual. Therefore, their thoughts are not stored as words, but as images. For your data to have a lasting impact, it must be wrapped in an image for the listener to truly connect with, store and access later. The story does all the work. The point drives it home. Story trumps data.

Stop looking for a good story!  So many speakers ask, “Is this a good story?” That’s the wrong question. Don’t go looking for a “good” story. Look for one that your audience will connect with. An experience they can relate to. Then work on making it a good story.

 

kellyswansonKelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, motivational speaker, author, and trainer on the art and business of storytelling in business. She has spent fifteen years entertaining, motivating, and teaching audiences how to harness the power of their story to connect, influence, and get results.  To book Kelly for your next event click here: http://goo.gl/DFvROG

Just Ask! by guest: Kelly Swanson

askI don’t know about you, but I come from a long line of women who hate to ask for help. We’d rather stand proudly in the pool of martyrdom, even if we are drowning – but at least we did it on our own, with good hair, fine china, and a purse that matched our shoes. Asking translated to weakness. Asking meant you weren’t polite. Asking was rude. What we didn’t realize, was that sometimes (and maybe most times) in order to get what we want, we have to ASK for it. Yet many of us, me included, are disappointed at all the things we didn’t get that we never asked for.

Today was a good example for me. I want likes on my Facebook page – not to feel needed, but because it gives me more exposure to clients looking for motivational speakers. And yet every time I open my Facebook page and see that place where it gives me the option to ask my friends to like me – I ignore it. It just feels too needy. What if they say no? What if that makes me promiscuous?

But today I said, “What the heck. I’m always happy to like their pages. And they can always say no. I’ll never know unless I ask.”  So I asked.  And not even an hour later I got 80 likes – make that 81, I just got another while typing this. And I would bet by end of the day that number will be higher.

Lesson to me: ASK.

Lesson to you: ASK.

They can always say no. But your chances are always better than if you said nothing at all.

So now that I’ve climbed out of the pool of martyrdom and into the pool of asking for what I want – does anybody have any diamonds they want to give me?

(P.S.  In case you now want to go find me on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/funnymotivationalspeaker.  I’ll be the one with all the likes.)

kellyswansonAbout 

Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson – called one of North Carolina’s funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow – Kelly’s make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience’s imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market. To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson: see her Speaker page at http://www.simplysuespeaks.com/speaker/17/Kelly_Swanson

Is Hope and Humor a Part of Your Business?

funfridayMany say hope and humor are those things that we don’t need to learn more about; and certainly not something you should pay to hear and learn about!

I consider myself a hopeful and fun person, but how did I get that attitude, and how can I keep it going in the world we now live in?  Many are learning that those who have applied hope and humor in their lives: live longer, have better relationships, are healthier, and have better results in their work and companies they own.

What key things do we need to put into our minds and daily living that will keep us hopeful and having fun? Dale Carnegie said: “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Oh, “WOW” that means we should have fun at work?  I know someone you will want to have as your next speaker who will help you do just that!

Award-winning Kelly Swanson travels the country bringing a powerful message and is “outrageously” Funny! Businesses and the lives of people are being changed! Some of her topics include: “6 Secrets to Connecting with People-that Help you Sell, Lead, and Impact Better”, “Help You Move from Creating Lists, to Creating Habits and Attitudes, which are More Valuable than Lists”, “Help You from Where You are Stuck, to Where You Want to Be.”  Kelly can also custom design topics you have in mind. To book Kelly for your upcoming event contact us here at www.simplysuespeaks.com/contact or email me at sue@simplysuespeaks.com.

Have a great fun week!

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“Simply” Sue Falcone
Owner: “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency

 

 

 

It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

It’s Not About Who Is The Best Motivational Speaker!

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Mirror Mirror On The Wall – Who’s The Best Motivational Speaker Of Them All?

Every once in a while I hear that question posed on Facebook – “Who’s the best speaker out there?” And I always grit my teeth because the question just doesn’t make sense. That’s like asking who is the best singer – or the best actor – or the best guitar player – or the best painter.  Speakers, like artists, are going to appeal to the people they appeal to most.

It’s not about whether you are the best, it’s about whether you are the best fit for that audience.

This will sound like I’m bragging (sorry) but I get standing ovations all the time. I get high evaluations all the time. I get booked all the time and I get asked back all the time.

Does that mean I’m the best? No. Not even close. It means I’m very good at what I do, and I’m in front of the right crowd for me.

That’s not always the case. I did a group of sanitation workers in a small town out west. It was awful. They hated it. From the moment they walked in, I knew I was in trouble. I did my best stuff – stuff that had killed over and over. I gave it everything I had. And they still hated it. “Don’t have her back,” someone put on their evaluation.

Does that mean my ranking on the “Who’s The Best Speaker” list went down? No. It means I was the wrong fit. Period. To them, I wasn’t the best – and was quite possibly the worst. To the group I did last week, I was the best they had ever seen. Different group, different likes, different needs. For them, I fit like a glove.

So stop worrying about whether you’re the best in this business, and focus on being the best fit.


Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

 

It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

When Hecklers Say You Suck

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Funny Motivational Speaker Heads To The Land of Hecklers

I have a love/hate relationship with YouTube. I love the traffic it brings me. And I hate the traffic it brings me. Because some of that traffic is vicious. Yesterday it happened again. I got one of those comments.

It was a comment on my story about the woman with a mop. A comment from Dong Destroyer.

Dong Destroyer said it was a fake story, that I was scamming for Jesus, and then called me a name I’d rather not repeat.

My first thought was, “Mom?”

Last year this comment would have crippled me. Last year I would have carried this comment around in my head for weeks. Last year I would have called all my friends to see if they thought it was true. Last year I would have talked about this nonstop to my husband, waking him up in the middle of the night so he can remind me that I don’t suck.

But that was last year. Today – I laughed. And I actually felt a little sorry for Dong Destroyer and his obvious bitterness over the actions of a stranger.

Today I don’t care what Dong says. Because it’s not a fake story, it is a true story. And even if it had been a fake story, I still wouldn’t mind. I’m a writer. I write fake stories. Get over it. (Except for this one. This one is true. You just can’t make up somebody likeDong Destroyer.)

The story never even brought up Jesus unless Dong thought I was implying that the holy of holies wears a hair net. In fact, I didn’t even know it was about Jesus. And if it was, I would have been even prouder. I’m a big fan of Jesus.

And scamming? What’s that all about? I’m not sure you could call my YouTube video a scam, especially since I wasn’t selling anything. I think scams are when you sell something and don’t deliver on what you promise. Right? This was a YouTube video, so I’m pretty sure it delivered the same thing 1 million other YouTube videos deliver, which, if you’ve seen the big hairy guy skiing naked, isn’t much.

So I did what I do with all of my feedback. I read it. As hard as it is to do, I listen to the feedback. Then I determine whether there is anything valid I can learn from it. Then I consider the source. (A.k.a. Dong Destroyer) And then I let it go.

This fits right into my theory that life isn’t about what happens to you, but about the story you write with what happened to you.  Feedback happens. I can’t control whatDong says.  That is the part that happened to me. But in the moment following, I get to write the story of how this feedback will affect me. How much control will I give this heckler?

I can write a story that says I suck. I can write a story that says everybody feels likeDong does. I can write a story that says if somebody doesn’t like what I do then I should quit. I can write a story that says I am sad, disappointed, and rejected all over again. I can write a story that says I am stupid.

Or, I can write a different story. And today I did.  I wrote a story that says this is just one person’s opinion. I wrote a story that says I still love the woman with a mop and I’m going to keep telling it whenever I can. I wrote a story that says Dong is an idiot.  (Well, that story pretty much wrote itself.) I wrote a story that says I don’t need to get him back. He’s not worth it. Let it go.

Today, I laugh in the face of criticism. I laugh in the face of my heckler.

When you can laugh at your heckler, you take away his power over you.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Take that Dong Destroyer.

What about you? Are you carrying around a story that needs to be rewritten?

(PS. To paraphrase my buddy JC – to some we will be a foul stench, and to others a sweet rose.)

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Motivation Monday with Kelly Swanson

They Aren’t The Reason You Are Miserable

grouchyBeing a motivational speaker feels a lot like being a therapist, only without the degree, knowledge, or credibility. But still I meet people in their places of brokenness. I hear their issues and concerns. And I try to motivate them to see their problems/issues from a different perspective. And one of the consistent things I find in people, is the belief that their problem is someone else.

My boss is  jerk.

They didn’t value my opinion.

He didn’t call.

She’s always running her mouth about something.

He drives me crazy.

She thinks I don’t have anything else to do but wait on her.

They didn’t pay me what I’m worth.

He’s an ungrateful teenager and I’m sick of it.

She thinks she’s better than everybody else.

They didn’t give me my money’s worth.

She just has it out for me.

Nobody will cut me any slack.

Sound familiar?

We all find ourselves victim to this sort of thinking. We don’t live in a bubble. Our lives are filled with people, and many of them are difficult to deal with.  And while we are often valid in our assessment of these people, it doesn’t change the truth – that we can’t fix them, change them, or find perfect people who act exactly as we want.

And they aren’t the problem.

We are.

Yes, I said it. And you’re probably mad. But it’s true.

They aren’t the reason you are miserable.

YOU are.

Life is filled with things circling us that are beyond our control – things happening to us – around us. Things that involve us directly, indirectly, or not really at all.  So much of what is circling around us can’t be controlled. Sure, some of it can be, and we should definitely work to control what we can in our lives. But the only thing you can control in EVERY situation, is how YOU will react to it.

YOU control your reaction.

YOU control your feelings. Well, maybe at first you  can’t control your initial reaction. But after you calm down, you can.

YOU decide what story you are going to write with this data you have been given, even if you are standing in the middle of the colossal mess. YOU still control whether you will allow it to make you miserable.

Unless you have a chemical imbalance, or issues bigger than you (in which case, this does not really apply to you, except that it is YOUR responsibility to get help for it and not use it as an excuse) you can control your reactions, your emotions, and your happiness. Yes, it’s a choice.

YOU are the one who turns one bad moment into a bad hour, and then a bad day, and a bad week, and a bad life. You are the one who instead of letting it go, carries it around with you like a comfort blanket – finding more people to share your issue with – making it the focus of all your time, energy, and conversations.

So, unless you want to stay miserable (which apparently some people do – and actually thrive on it) that’s your choice. Just acknowledge that it’s your fault, not theirs. They aren’t the reason you are miserable. You are.

You can choose happiness. And if you do it enough, one day you’ll wake up, and it just is.

If we let others make us miserable, we always will be.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

Something Bigger To Believe In

believeWhen I got to speak to the marine spouses at Camp LeJeune, I had the honor of staying at the Brigadier General’s house. What an honor! And what an extreme hardship, trying to be on my best behavior for that long. (He told me the bow was not necessary.)

Later he and I were talking about me being a motivational speaker, and I asked him this question:

My husband and I have this ongoing discussion (argument) about whether people can be motivated. My husband believes in the old adage that you can’t motivate people – you need to get the right people on the bus. While I understand that, I can’t help but think that some people can be motivated. And I think the military proves this. I know people who went into the military one way, and came out another. Your people are definitely motivated. So which is it? Get the right people to begin with, or can they  be motivated? And if they can be motivated – how?

Here was the General’s reply:

Yes, people can be motivated. It’s not simple, and it doesn’t happen in one step, but a series of strategic repeated steps. But they can be motivated. You just have to give them something to believe in bigger than themselves.

I don’t think it’s the military alone where this plays out. I think there are examples throughout our world and throughout history where people became motivated over a common goal or vision. So while some might not ever get motivated from an outside force, many can, and will be, if given something bigger to believe in.

And so I challenge you to look at your work and even your life as more than a job description or a line item on an application. I challenge you to rewrite that story to be much bigger than the job itself. Give yourself something bigger to believe in. Type it up and hang it where you can see it often and be reminded that you serve something bigger than the task at hand.

And who knows, you just might find yourself happier at work.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Motivation Monday- Crafting a Speech with Kelly Swanson

Speech Writing: The 3 Column Template for Crafting a Speech

Speech Writing: The 3 Column Template for Crafting a Speech by motivational speaker Kelly Swanson

We all have different approaches to writing a speech – none of them wrong if it results in a quality product.

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a speech happens before you write the first word –the preparation – that stage when all of your thoughts and ideas are floating above your head in no order whatsoever.

You sort of know what you want to say in bits and pieces, but have no idea of how to put it together. Or how to even start. And when you try to explain it to somebody it sounds even worse. This article is to help you prepare those thoughts and ideas to make the writing process much easier.

How?

By organizing your thoughts in three columns.

I’m going to assume that you have a message and you have an audience. If you don’t, then perhaps you should be rethinking this whole “I’m going to be a famous speaker” idea. You need a message. The audience can come later, but you still must have some idea of who you are talking to. A speech written for teens will be much different than a speech written for senior citizens.

On a piece of paper draw three columns. Give the first column the title: MESSAGE. Give the second column the title: ABOUT ME.  Give the third column the title: ABOUT THEM.

Your speech will have three major components: the message and points you want to make (what you want to teach them), the stories you have chosen to illustrate those points, and the things you will do to make your message about them.

All three are vital, especially the last column, which so many speakers forget resulting in a speech filled with instructions that is only about them.

In the first (Message) column you basically finish these statements in your words:

We have a problem in our world today and it is __________

And because of this people __________

And __________

happens I have experienced this myself when __________

And found that the answer is __________

And here are the steps you take to get there _________

The message column is the place where you are basically setting up the problem, your solution, and that you are here to help fix it, and here’s how you do it. This is the content  – the take away – what people will learn from you that they can take back to their lives on Monday morning.

The second (ABOUT YOU) column is all about you.

These are your stories, your life experiences, stories about people you know – comedy bits, pictures, music – whatever you want to use to SHOW your audience how this message applies to life.

This is the part that adds the energy and flavor and helps you address things like short attention spans.

This is the part where you can swap out stories for ones that fit this particular audience better.

This is the part that is truly unique to you as a speaker and a performer.

The last (ABOUT THEM) column is about them.

This is where you take your message and ask them how it relates to them. The best way to make your speech about them is to ask questions – even if you don’t expect them to answer.

Use statements like:

Have you ever noticed this about yourself?

Have you seen the signs in your own life?

What do you do in those situations?

Where are you stuck?

Do you find examples of this in your own life?

Let’s talk about how this affects you.

Do you remember back to a time when?

Why don’t we discuss some ways that you….?

Do you ever feel…?

When have you found…..?

If I can do this, so can you. It’s not too late for you to…..

Now you merge the three columns in any order you want, using your own style of language to achieve the desired affect.

Have fun and happy writing!

Kelly
KELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.