If you've signed up for the "Get Motivated!" business seminar in Washington next month, you might consider asking for a partial refund.
To be fair, we've never seen much benefit to these events. Spend a day in a medium-sized (or large) arena, listening to high-priced speakers share their secrets for success. Ironically, many of the gurus don't have a lot of business experience, or their success came after a high-profile career in the public sector.
The Get Motivated seminar offers a case in point. Two of the big "names" on the itinerary are Rudy Guliani and Colin Powell. Both have been on the speaker circuit for several years, and (presumably) deliver a decent talk for their six-figure fees. But their combined business experience is meager, although some of their lessons from the military and politics are applicable in the private sector.
But General Powell and Mayor Guliani aren't the reason to ask for a refund. Joining them for the event is another luminary, disgraced CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather. According to organizers of the Washington event, Mr. Rather is "always ready to deliver the truth the way it is."
Riiggghhttttt....we're guessing that promoters are forgetting about Rather's most famous excursion in "truth telling," that infamous 2004 60 Minutes II segment on President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard. You know, the report based on badly faked documents that were exposed by bloggers only minutes after the story aired. The same report that ended Mr. Rather's career at CBS.
Yeah, ol' Dan is a real truth-teller. Given his track record, it's amazing that anyone would hire Rather as a motivational speaker, particularly for a business audience. Even more amazing that people would pay good money to hear his little speech on "maintaining excellence while avoiding burnout."