Skip the “fluff”:  An Interview with Motivational Speaker Connie Podesta

 By Julie Escobar

 Having been in and around the speaking and training industries for more than 20 years, I’m often asked what I’ve found to be some of the most important ingredients in a successful seminar or event.  For a little perspective from the OTHER side of the podium, I asked my friend and extraordinary keynote speaker, Connie Podesta for her top tips for making sure everyone comes away from an event with terrific “AH-HA” moments and genuine tools for change. 

 Here’s a little of what I learned…

 Q:  Hey  Connie – as always, wonderful talking to you!  As a motivational speaker – you’ve got a LOT on your plate when you step onto a stage-right?  You’re challenged to connect with a diverse audience, motivate and inspire while being careful not to go too over the top.  For those organizations interesting in hiring a speaker, what should they look for to ensure their event is everything they’d hoped it would be? 

 A:  Hi Julie, great to be with you too!  I would first tell them to make sure they have a solid conversation with any speaker they are considering.  Looking at websites and YouTube is great –but it won’t give you the best feel for who you’re hiring.  I’d also say to look for a speaker who is more than just “motivational.”  Today’s audiences want and NEED the EMPOWERMENT that comes from having the right message that can not only transform their mindset and mood short term – but long term as well.   

 That’s always my goal.  Helping organizations find the gap between where they are now and where they want to be – then help them close that gap.  You know with the right message and delivery –people can have a lot of fun and laugh while they’re learning.  One of the things I tell event organizers is that I know that when people laugh they LEARN more, REMEMBER more, COMMIT to more, and are more WILLING to tackle the tougher issues that stand in their way of achieving the results they want.

 Q:  Love that and you’re right — in today’s world people sometimes need to laugh a little in order to learn.  You’re an EXPERT on human behavior, so tell me, how can event planners and leadership who are looking to fill an event handle those naysayers in the workplace who think attending a motivational corporate event is just “fluff”?

A:   I tell them to make sure they hire a motivational speaker that will do more than just a “rah rah, dream-your-dream kind of speech.”  They should be committed to bringing in a motivational speaker that has a strong reputation for inspiring real change, results and valuable take-away, useable information.  People now need real-world answers and strategies.  The nice thing is that when you understand what makes the naysayers tick—getting them to adopt the right message and mindset is easy.   That’s one of the reasons I spend so much time talking with clients long before I ever step on a stage.  If they can share what their challenges are – I can help them resolve them as well as give them strategies for getting everyone on board for their special event. 


Q:  That’s great advice.  You and I have both seen our fair share of speakers who have unintentionally derailed an event and sometimes even an organization’s momentum.  How can an organization ensure that ITS goals are being met – that THEIR message and intent are incorporated into their speaker’s message? 

A:  Great question—and again, it goes back to communication and frankly – doing your homework.   Both from the event planner’s standpoint and the speaker’s.  Let’s face it – events are huge undertakings.  They take time, money, energy and resources – so they need to be just right.  In today’s world, there’s not a lot of margin for error.  If what you want is for your speaker to not just deliver what they say they will–but exceed those expectations – then you need to have some very important conversations with them.  You also need to do a little sleuth work.  Find the speakers that are willing to customize their topics and talk to incorporate your   f goals, themes, corporate culture and the underlying message you want conveyed.   Not all will, so look for the ones that have a reputation for going the extra mile. 

From the motivational speaker side of it – for me, it’s a series of communications before the event.  I make it a point to learn everything the client is trying to accomplish, learn about their leadership, their team and their organization.  That way, every presentation is customized to ensure that everyone walks away with what they need the most.    Ultimately, audiences want three things today:  entertainment, content and motivation.  “Fluff” just isn’t going to cut it.  They want walk away with the kind of insight and strategies that they can apply immediately to their life to help them work better, sustain better relationships or bring more peace and balance into their day.  It’s my job as the speaker to do my homework to make sure that’s just what they get – threaded with all the company goals and mission throughout.  

 Great stuff Connie – thanks!  As always, a pleasure getting your insights! 

 If you’re planning an event and are considering hiring a motivational speaker for your next event—I would heed Connie’s advice and “skip the fluff.”  From your leadership team to your sales staff to the people that answer your phones – I know from all walks of business that people want and need more than that these days.  Stress levels are high and the thirst for real answers even higher.  Make some calls.  Put it all on the table.  What you want and need as an organization and what you expect from the keynote speaker representing you from the stage – this is an important step in making sure your next event is a HIT…one they’ll be talking about for a long time to come. 

 Here’s to YOUR next successful event! 

 Connie Podesta is a top-rated professional keynote speaker, executive career/life coach and one of the industry’s leading experts in sales strategies, leadership development, relationships, and change. Using her talents as an author, board certified therapist, comedienne and TV/radio personality; Connie delivers customized high-energy presentations that creatively combine laugh-out-loud humor and compelling insight with real-world strategies and solutions. 

To learn more about Connie and what she can do for your team visit her site or find her on Facebook at — she’s fun to follow!

Julie Escobar is syndicated columnist who’s been in and around the speaking and training industries for more than 25 years.  With a passion for helping sales professionals and organizations build their business, maintain their motivation and realize their goals, you’ll find her always on the lookout for new solutions, strategies and techniques that can make jobs easier and life better.  You can find Julie on Facebook at


Award-winning keynote speaker and author, educator, entrepreneur, human resource professional, actress, comedienne, song-writer, radio/TV talk show personality, board-certified organizational/family therapist, and executive life/career coach. for more information or call 972.596.5501
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