In over 30 years of training speakers from all over the world I can tell you that most people who speak as part of their business are motivated by one or more of three primary motivators.


Maybe you have what I call a mess; a huge challenge that you have overcome. Maybe it was an injury, an illness, abuse, an amputated limb…something that has shaped your world in a traumatic way and has made you into who you are today.

I know speakers who have overcome massive challenges in their life and their motivation stems from the lessons they have learned along the way which they feel compelled to share with the world.


Maybe you don’t have a huge mess. Maybe you’re like me; I have had a pretty easy life with no major challenge that I would call a mess. I don’t have a mess. But I do have something else, and maybe you do too.

I have, what I call, a moment. I have a moment in time when I realized what my gift is. I remember a very specific event where I found out that my gift is turning good speakers into world-class speakers and I found that out when I was 25.

Maybe you have a moment too. Maybe you have a moment in time where you realized what your purpose is. Maybe you discovered your gift or your passion and that gift or passion is what drives you. Or, maybe you don’t!


If you don’t have a mess or a moment, then chances are good that you have a mission; a cause that you feel driven to pursue. Perhaps there is a change in this word that you feel compelled to make; a legacy you want to leave. Your cause is to leave some part of this world in better condition than when you arrived here.

Almost every speaker I have worked with; whether they were professional speakers, coaches, financial advisors, healers or consultants; almost every one of them can identify with at least one of these three motivators. Which ones do you identify with the most?


From the mess, moment or mission comes the message. Most messages shared by speakers are motivated by one or more the the three primary motivators.

The message will share wisdom, teach technical content, tell tales of exotic travels and share lessons learned along the way.

Speakers have great stories and great content sprinkled with chuckles and emotional triggers to make us laugh and cry. They have slides with jaw-dropping visuals and powerful platform technique all designed to hold the audience’s attention.

Buried within all of that is the speaker’s solution to some issue; their four secrets to this, their five pillars of that, their new system to achieve some result, and this brings us to the problem.

The problem is this…every great speaker has a solution which they share with the audience. So when you get in front of a group of people to speak, being a great speaker and having an amazing solution to some problem makes you look and sound almost exactly the same as all the other great speakers…unless you have something that the others don’t.


The one thing that almost always makes one or two speakers stand out is something more than the stories, the laughs and the latest solution; it’s what I call “expert insights”.

The speaker who stands out is the speaker who provides the audience with a snap-shot of the audience’s world from a perspective they have not considered before. The speaker who brings to the audience’s attention a problem they never knew that had, demonstrates the cost of that problem and THEN shows the audience how to fix the problem…that’s the speaker who stands out and gets noticed.

As an expert in your field; whatever that field is, chances are superb that you are far more interested in your solutions than your audience is because they have been bombarded with everyone else’s solutions over and over again. I call it “solution fatigue”.

So when you get in front of an audience to speak about your business, do yourself and your audiences a favor and stop peddling your solution from the platform until and unless you have first brought to your audience’s awareness a problem they never knew they had and help them get present to the cost of having that problem and THEN position yourself as the solution by helping them solve their problem.

Send them off with a new perspective, a new awareness, a new sense of urgency or excitement and YOU will be the speaker they remember.

Steve Lowell, CSP, National President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS), and sits on the Board of Directors of the Global Speakers Federation.
He is committed to Helping You Stand Out as a Speaker! Would you like to be able to speak in a way that gets you chosen by your highest-value prospects? If you’re interested in finding out more about how to define and leverage your own expert insights so that you can stand out and get noticed as the expert in your field,  go to and schedule a complimentary consultation.

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