Nowadays, it is common to see professional athletes gracing events to deliver motivational speeches. Corporations, universities, charities, and other organizations pay good money to have the best sports celebrity speak to their employees, partners, or clients in the hopes of boosting employee morale and solidifying business relationships.
But what is it exactly about athletes that draw the crowd’s attention and inspire people to listen once they go up on stage? These are the reasons why sports players make great motivational speakers.
They Have Experienced Success in their Field
One of the goals of speaking engagements in the business setting is to inspire the workforce to perform well in their jobs. When athletes are invited to speak in company events, the meat of their speech is about how they have overcome different adversities to reach their goals, whether it is winning a championship for their team, an Olympic medal, or a Heisman trophy. Hearing athletes talk about their struggles, be it financial, mental, or physical, can stir inspiration and motivate employees to replicate the hard work these athletes have done to succeed in their chosen sport.
They are Viewed as Role Models
Sometimes, leaders or team managers find it difficult to make their employees listen to a message or piece of advice. Employees tend to listen more attentively if the message is delivered by someone else, and, if that someone else is a celebrated athlete, the stronger the impact of the message is. This is mainly because athletes embody the characteristics of a role model, a persona that people may gravitate to especially if the athlete is someone who is considered by many employees as their hero during their childhood.
In addition to speaking about topics such as leadership, teamwork, or motivation, many athletes have their own platforms or support certain advocacies. This can be beneficial if the purpose of the speaking engagement is to increase awareness on issues such as substance abuse, diversity, global warming, or AIDS.
They Understand the Value of Teamwork
No one can better describe how important teamwork is than a successful athlete could. Having spent so many years of their career in a team, athletes will be able to share the experiences they have had and mistakes that they have committed that contributed to the success or failure of their teams. They will be able to highlight how important it is to work together to achieve a common goal – an important concept that is inherent in the business environment.
They are Relatable
Just like an employee’s, an athlete’s career may be filled with ups and downs, too. Whether the athlete is a world record holder or an upcoming star, they may also have gone through the same struggles that employees could now be facing. Examples of these include setting goals, meeting deadlines, working under pressure, or dealing with a difficult teammate. There is credibility and relatability in this, as employees realize that athletes also have to deal with the same struggles they do.
Professional athletes, indeed make great motivational speakers. And this is because they can share practical lessons that business leaders and employees can learn from to achieve success.