What does it take to be a professional motivational speaker?
Courage? Yes, probably. Confidence? Definitely. But above all of that, to be a successful motivational speaker, you need to be able to tell motivational stories. Jim Cathcart is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker who started his career repossessing log trucks in the mountains of northern Arkansas. It wasn’t until he heard speaker and author, Earl Nightingale, on the radio in 1972, that he decided to take a complete U-turn and become a professional speaker.
Since then, Jim has built quite a reputation for himself as one of the most recognized and highly sought after motivational and sales speakers in the world. He is the author of 16 books including the famous, Relationship Selling, which has transformed the entire world of sales. Jim has given more than 3,000 presentations worldwide and his motivational stories have moved countless people to change their lives for the better.
One of Jim’s best (and my personal favorite) stories is about a memorable employee of a fast food restaurant. Chances are, you’ve heard of this restaurant before and you’ve probably had lunch there this week. Listen in to hear the story about Grandma, where it came from, how it’s evolved and what’s next for this Hall of Fame speaker.
Find out about:
- The surprising story about Grandma and the importance of providing memorable moments for your customers
- How the Grandma story has evolved and survived 40 years of professional speaking
- How Jim can change the lesson of the story by altering the application
- The problem with depending on ‘sight gags’ in your presentation
- How to strategically withhold information from the audience in a way that builds suspense
- How Jim got into the professional speaking business
- How to find, curate and adapt better stories
Quotes from the episode:
If you’re telling a story, you’ve got to create your characters visually in the mind of your audience.
Everybody’s got stories. The human brain works through experience. You either have a personal actual physical experience or you have a vicarious experience through a story.
I realized not everyone is looking at you every moment of your speech so if they’re not looking at you they won’t know when to laugh.
Connect with Jim Cathcart
2 Key Questions
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about the speaking business?
“Bill Gove was the first one President of the National Speakers Association and I met him in the year that NSA was created. I was at a conference in Phoenix and I had the privilege of spending a two-hour lunch with just him and one other person. And, he just he was holding court. You know, Bill was a master storyteller, one of the best I’ve ever met in my entire life. The impression I got was, first, you need to enjoy it, you really ought to let yourself get into this and have fun with it for heaven’s sakes, and then look at it afterwards and make it better.”
Who is your dream guest for Standing Ovation?
“Jeanne Robertson must be on your show. She started as a Miss America candidate. She was Miss North Carolina and she says, “I’m the tallest woman to ever lose the Miss America contest,” and she became a humorist and had an entire career being a humorist. And then when she was around 60 years old, she started doing not humour, but comedy. The difference is humor is what I used in my grandma story, comedy is what Robin Williams and people like that use. So, she became a full-time comedian doing shows in theatres around the country and has just made a fortune doing that. But Jeannie is a story genius, and very masterful.”