Don’t Motivate, but Inspire Ft. René Rodriguez

How do you really move an audience and create a lasting impression? René Rodriguez sits down and explains the holes that exist when you just motivate people. Listen to hear how you can actually inspire people to create a change!


Tell us about your background.

My background is in behavioral neuroscience. About 25 years ago my mother asked me questions, “I want you to look around the room, and I want you to tell me what everyone has in common.” I was trying to figure it out, I was looking at skin color what people were wearing., she said, “René, everybody here has a brain, and if you understand how the brain works, everything becomes easier.” I took that advice and went to school for that. I didn’t want to be a researcher. I saw people would go be a researcher and a Dr. was all about how often you could get published. I was the guy that said, “Wait hold on, what does this mean to sales, leadership, communication, problem solving” and thats where my passion came, “How do you apply it.”

I was 17 years old, I was at the University of St. Thomas, and my mother was speaking at this conference. I remember going, my mom’s going to speak? This guy goes up and he lit up the audience. I was like, wow that’s what I want to do. My mom was going to go after this guy, she went up there and just destroyed the room.

Tell us what you’re known for.

Right now, the last 4/5 years, have done close to 100 events a year. Different organizations that are wanting to talk about leadership, sales development, and influence. Influence to me is the how of leadership. Able to communicate an idea from the front of the room, one on one, body language, how you structure a message. Sequence is everything. Our brain works in a sequence, our language in the wrong sequence can send the wrong message, but in the right sequence can move an entire audience.

As event organizers, how do we do a better job serving our audience with sequence and perspective?

The most powerful events and planners are the ones that realize they’re an extension of the leadership of the organization. They’re given such a critical component to having a leveraged position, to have the audience together. If they sequence that correctly, thinking beyond entertainment, motivation is a word I try to stay away from completely because it’s an external force. Inspiration is something that dries actionable insights through the organization. That’s how you create massive change. When an organizer realizes they’re creating influence over an organization they become a strategic partner at that point.

People come to us and ask us to motivate their audience, motivation lasts 15 minutes. What do you do if you want to create true lasting change with an audience?

That’s the question that started my career. The short term feeling is easy to create, it’s a drug, it’s a joke that can make you laugh, a story that makes you feel adrenaline. But adrenaline isn’t sustainable, your body with self regulate to get rid if it, so it has to be something more substantial. Anything that connects to peoples values, inspires peoples principles, that’s the stuff that lasts. When you’re thinking about motivation, we can get excited and the moment you walk out the door you forget about everything you’ve said. When you create a moment, that aha, when you can see something and can’t unsee it. You don’t need motivation. When you look at the brain, when you open a new way of thinking that they can’t unsee, there’s no motivation needed.

You’re saying we need to create true connections with ideas that are easily seen what’s they’re seen you can’t unsee them?

Yeah, bring the idea to life somehow for the audience. It’s easy to read something in a book and regurgitate it on stage, but if you put years to practice and were able to show an audience, you know in that moment something had shifted because their perception has shifted. That creates curiosity.

Part of what our jobs are as leaders, is helping people reframe what’s happening. Anytime we’re under a constraint, that’s the time of creativity and innovation. But most people are frustrated, scared, and don’t know where to go. Look at what’s happening. Every industry is innovating. I can control how I look at it, how I inspire new thinking, and how do we push forward to start creating new ideas, new inspirations so we can get back on track as quickly as possible.

Talk about clients that want ala cart pricing and it turning into a gray area.

There’s no customization and solution building at that point. The sales professional and event planner is a solution builder. I can give you the price of everything, but let that go, “what’s your vision for the event?”. At the end of the day you’re going to judge by effectiveness.

Let’s talk about stress and how it affects things.

The first thing I tell people is stress is a physical thing. You feel it, your blood vessels constrict, you sweat everything changes. Stress is the ultimate kryptonite to performance. Every elite performer (Navy SEAL, professional fighter, dancer etc) it’s not about who knows more or who can run faster, it’s who’s body and mind will perform over stress. Stress is contagious but so is calm.

Are there things we can do onsite that will help us in stress?

If you think about it, the part of the brain is system 1 and that part of the brain is very primitive it needs three things to calm down
Structure
Order
Predictability

We lost those three things. When I start seeing those three lost, that’s when I go, I know what’s coming. You’re going to get irrationality, social media becomes a catalyst for more attention and focus on the wrong things. This is the time where leaders are going to be defined. Structure order predictability can be done beforehand.

*Listen/watch to hear box breathing exercise*

What kind of hope do you see for the future?

A good friend of mine after this happened said, “There’s a difference between a tornado and a stow storm. A tornado tears down everything and takes years to recover. A snow storm shuts everything down for a little bit, then the snow melts, and we go back.”

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