Friday, October 4, 2013

Do Motivational Speakers Work?

Taylor Selbst
Staff Writer

A motivational speaker’s presentation comes to an end and the audience cheers, but not too long after students and teachers start to wonder if the message was actually able to affect each student. Every student goes through challenging events in their lifetime. When motivational speakers share their stories with students, sometimes that specific event may not have been experienced yet by those in the audience. The speaker’s experiences and opinions on a certain topic may not impact some students as strongly as it might do towards others. Although there are many different kinds of motivational speakers who share their life stories with students, there is not just one motivational speaker who is going to help a whole school filled with many different kind of students.
Motivational speakers are not just available to tell students what to do, but they also serve other purposes. They can help students think of different ways of moving through obstacles. For example, when Laymon Hicks came to our school, he told us a story about a girl who flushed her pills down the drain after reading his book. The stories he told us were very powerful and the message that he was trying to get across was to never give up and if you want something, go get it. Although many of the audience members were not able to share the same experiences with the speaker, they were still able to sympathize, and there was definitely a positive impact.
On the other hand, some students may interpret the motivational speaker’s message in a different way. They may make a joke about it or twist the message the speaker is trying to convey. For example, Mr. Hicks told the school that his grandmother told him, “When you fall down, get back up.” Many students took this as a joke and did not get the message Mr. Hicks was trying to send. When this happens this may affect a student’s future if they do not listen to the advice that is given by a professional. Students may also not agree with the message the motivational speaker is trying to convey. While everyone may have their own beliefs, it is important to remember the motivational speaker’s message.  
People can interpret the message in a positive or negative way. Some situations will  affect students personally, while other situations may not connect with a person until years later. Sophomore Maggie Dougherty says, “I think that motivational speakers inspire students briefly, but their messages don’t stick for more than a week generally.” Junior Andrew Bove says, “Motivational speakers are good because they can change someone’s view on something in a good way and it cannot be turned bad.” To summarize, all motivational speakers have the goal of helping students; yet, how much students get out of it depends upon how the message affects each individual student.  

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