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Motivational Speakers and Inspirational Speakers: Is There a Difference?

By Admin | 23 February 2016 |

Think about your own definition of motivation and inspiration.

Is there much difference between the two? At first thought, the terms seem interchangeable. Inspirational stories motivate us and motivational stories inspire us, right?

When you browse Successful Speakers’ topic lists, you’ll find that we have a motivational speakers category and an inspirational speakers category. Why? Because the two terms are, in fact, different. Understanding why they are different is key to making the right keynote speaker choice for your upcoming conference or convention.

Motivation: Looking Within to Push Ahead
There are several different opinions about what motivation is. If you read Entrepreneur’s explanation, you’ll find that motivation is, “Using both tangible and nontangible rewards to keep employees enthusiastic, loyal and interested in continual improvement.”

In this sense, motivation is more of a procedural entity. And that makes a lot of sense in a business environment. Mangers create rewards programs and bonus structures to “motivate” their employees. If motivation is something you do to someone else, then the definition of inspiration becomes muddied, because inspiration is essentially the same thing.

So, how do we resolve this confusion? We like to emphasize motivation as something you actively do within your own mind, within yourself. You overcome obstacles or reach great heights because of your own personal resolve.

For instance, when Maj. Gen. John Cantwell used to rally the boys when he was serving Australia, his words were an inspiration to his troops and his fellow military leaders. But how did he muster the courage and resolve to lead our soldiers? By the motivation he possessed within his heart.

Inspiration: Giving to Others What You’ve Found in Yourself

Our guest speakers have literally spent a lifetime bettering themselves and finding the internal motivation to accomplish amazing feats. As you might’ve read, we choose our speakers with a very specific goal in mind: to find talented keynotes who have solid experience to back up their entertaining presentations.

Part of the reason we focus on experience and speaking talents is that experience is one of the most powerful tools for inspiration. There are limitless possibilities for change when a speaker can communicate their personal principles of motivation and how that internal power played a part in their life’s narrative.

And this is the key behind inspiration: to take what you’ve learned during your own self-motivated journey and expressing it to others in a way that challenges them and pushes them to their own greatness. Take Rev. Tim Costello AO, for example. The World Vision founder’s own experiences with the poor and less fortunate, couple with his speaking talent, are a potent combination.

Costello has used this combination to inspire hundreds of thousands of people. As he talks about his personal travels, his mental process and his journey to embracing the principles which drive his organization, audiences awaken to their own dreams and aspirations. They are, quite simply, inspired.

Making Your Decision

With these things in mind, think about what your organization needs. Do they have the motivation they need to succeed but lack a clear narrative of inspiration to boost them to the next level? Or have they grown weary of inspirational stories and need to take a personal inventory of their motives, desires and goals?

Once you decide what your company or client needs most, contact us through our website or by phone. We’ll help you find the perfect speaker for your organisation’s needs