Never Hire a Keynote Speaker who Motivates by Fear.

Never Hire a Keynote Speaker who Motivates by Fear.

Motivation is a marathon, not a sprint. So it always surprises me when I see a Keynote Speaker use fear as a ‘motivational’ tactic. Fear may be useful for short-term awareness, however, it cannot be the emotion that is sustained in activity or an organisational culture.

The purpose of this article is to highlight the limits of fear as a motivational tactic so you can make a more informed decision when hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker for your corporate event.


Emotions that Help or Hinder.

A Keynote Speech is placed at the beginning of an event to set the tone, the keynote, for everything that follows. Its outcome is to boost the motivation & action of your teams to grow your business. (See our article: What is the Real Purpose of a Keynote Speech?)

So we can ask, what are the emotions that would support this? And what are the emotions that would prevent this?


Short-term & Long-term Emotions.

Whatever emotion a Professional Keynote Speech stimulates needs to be framed with long-term motivation in mind. Motivation is a marathon, not a sprint.

When negative emotions are stimulated, or used in a Speech, great care needs to be taken. For example, fear can be useful for short-term awareness. It can be used to highlight the importance, or indeed the danger, of a situation. However, it cannot be the emotion that is translated into activity and it certainly cannot be the emotion that is sustained in organisational culture.


Motivation is a marathon, not a sprint.


A Professional Keynote Speaker understands that fear has limited momentum; fear restricts full engagement. So a Speaker may use the emotion of fear to create awareness of a need to act, however, they would never transfer the emotion of fear into the process of action.

A Professional Keynote Speaker will always use another, more sustainable, emotion to stimulate long-term action. They understand the difference between superficial shock and sustained support.


A Professional Keynote Speaker understands the difference between a superficial shock & sustained support.


A Culture of Sustained Support.

For decades research has shown that the way people feel at work directly influences how they perform. From the perspective that culture is nothing more than a collection of individual mindsets, this is very understandable. A fearful mindset will lead to a fearful culture.

So perhaps the only thing to fear is fear itself. Because fear very quickly creates a toxic work environment, that restricts full and long-term engagement. And there is the additional challenge that negative emotions often stimulate and encourage other negative emotions.

A Professional Keynote Speaker will, therefore, look beyond the limiting short- term emotion of fear. They will work with long-term*, that create a culture of sustained support. For more information see our article: 7 Qualities of Professional Keynote Speakers.

* Long-term emotions include: trust, friendship, kindness, joy, anticipation, courage, nobility, trustworthiness, etc.


So the next time you are deciding on which Keynote Speaker to hire for your corporate event, make sure they do not work with fear as a ‘motivational’ tactic. Instead, book a Professional Keynote Speaker who will work with long- term emotions that sustain activity and creates a strong organisational culture.


To learn more about how Paul Hughes’ Keynote Speeches can impact your organisational growth Request a Quote now.

Tagged under: