July 01, 2000
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts July 2000 Current Issue
July 2000
Short Cuts:
Striving for failure

Campbell: Full of malarkey
Campbell: Full of malarkey

Attendees who have endured the “can do” mantra one too many times just may have found a savior in George Campbell, a.k.a Joe Malarkey (www.joemalarkey.com). A former stand-up comedian turned speaker, Norman, Okla.-based Campbell’s hilarious “Choose to Lose” schtick has turned motivational speaking on its ear by poking fun at success and pumping up the art of failure.

“Failing is an integral part of succeeding. Everyone remembers the Jamaican bobsled team that lost at the Winter Olympics, but no one remembers who won that event,” chuckles Campbell, who insists he is not poking fun at traditional motivational speakers, but rather looking at the desired end result from a new angle. “My corporate clients want their employees to know it’s OK to make a mistake they don’t have to be perfect. Mistakes lead to new discoveries.”

He is on to something, says Dallas-based Michelle Lemmons-Poscente, founder of the International Speakers Bureau, who booked Campbell’s first corporate gig. “So many motivational speakers have the same predictable message, the same story line. The audience becomes cynical,” says Lemmons-Poscente. “George is different, so he stands out.”

To ferret out a good speaker from the hot-air masses, Lemmons-Poscente suggests planners look for two key ingredients: sincerity and entertainment. “Look for [someone who seems] real on the stage. If the person is who they say they are in their routine, it will jump out at you,” she says.


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