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Motivational Speaker and Master Storyteller Kelly Swanson


Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson is the author of Who Hijacked My Fairy TaleHi, I’m Kelly, a motivational speaker, and a comedian – which means I tell you that you can do anything, then I tell you I’m just kidding.

I’m also an award-winning storyteller, which might not mean much to you, but it’s everything to me. If there’s one secret I’ve learned to success in business, it’s the ability to tell a good story. We’re all trying to “sell” something – whether it’s a product, an idea, or getting our kids to brush their teeth with actual water this time. So we’re all in a position of wanting to influence an audience. And we all know the key to influencing and having impact, is in the ability to make an emotional connection – so that people like you, trust you, respond to you, follow you, and buy from you. And here’s where I come in. I have spent my whole life studying the art and business of stories – from the stories we write in our head, to the stories we put on our website, to the stories we speak from our platform. And your success is in direct correlation to your ability to tell a good story. Content compels, but it’s the story that sells, because it is only through the power of a story that you can connect, influence, and get results.

Anyway, it’s nice to meet you. If you are here, it’s probably because you want to get to know me better. So this is my chance to do just that. Perhaps you are looking for a funny motivational speaker for your event, or you’re a speaker looking for a coach, or you are someone who needs some humor and hope right now. Doesn’t matter – I’m just happy you came. When you’re through reading what I’m all about, I’d love to get to know you better. So just give me a toll free call (800-303-1049) and we can pick up right where you left off.


If Steinbeck were a speaker, he’d be Kelly Swanson.
Dr. Gary D. Salyer
Author of Safe to Love Again

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson field backgroundGrowing up I was the outcast – the kid they threw things at on the bus. I spent most of my life trying not to be noticed – trying to blend in. I carried the belief into adulthood that to be successful meant to look and act like everyone else. But I wasn’t like everyone else. And it got really exhausting trying to be. And really boring. So one day I cast aside the expected life, dusted off the gifts I had been hiding, stepped out of my comfort zone and onto a stage as a motivational speaker and comedian. And I didn’t look back. And guess what. It turns out that being different isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. In fact, it’s everything. I have learned that it’s not blending in that makes you a success, but standing out among the crowd. So now I’m sharing my journey with you – to take you from blending in to flying high above your comfort zone. I want to share the mindsets and behaviors that I had to break, and the new attitudes I had to adopt. I want to help you find your story, rewrite your story, and live into your story. I want to share the many ways I’ve learned to stand out in a crowded market. Want in? I sure hope so. Now get ready – to STAND UP AND STICK OUT!

What Do I Speak About?

I speak about motivating yourself and others as it applies to:
  • Dealing With Stress and Change
  • The Art of Connecting with Other Generations and Cultures
  • Being an Intrapreneur in Your Organization 
  • Soft skills Being the New Hard Skills
  • Innovation and Coming Out Of Your Comfort Zone
  • Being Your Own CEO
  • How to Motivate and Collaborate with Our Teams
  • Changing Mindsets and Attitudes

I also speak about finding your story, telling your story, and selling your story, as it applies to:

  • Personal Happiness and Growth
  • Branding and Marketing and Creating Social Communities
  • Leadership
  • Impacting Others Through The Powers Of Persuasion
  • Professional Speaking
  • Storytelling As An Art Form and A Tool In Business

My Truths About Life and Business

My messages all boil down to these truths about life and business – all learned the hard way – because I believe that it’s not what I did right that will help you most, but what I did wrong. Read through these, and then we’ll talk about how I deliver them.

Things I Have Learned About Life

Things I Have Learned About Life

  • Our success and happiness is a direct correlation to how we feel about ourselves and the script that runs through our head – how we see ourselves, each other, our jobs, and our part in the big picture. I want to make sure your script is healthy and is working for you instead of against you.
  • I think many of us spend our time being reactive rather than proactive. I want to help you turn big dreams into realistic action steps. I want to help you define the life you want, believe that you deserve it, and help you create a plan to get there. I believe that dreams don’t come true by chance, but by hard work, sweat, and perseverance. And sometimes we all need a little encouragement to keep going.
  • I believe that it’s what makes you different that makes you great, and we live in a world that encourages you to blend in. I want to show you how to find out what makes you unique and help you leverage that. It’s chic to be unique.
  • I believe that many of us feel unappreciated, stressed, and burned out. I hope to, at least for a moment, remind you how much you matter to those you serve.
  • I believe that we all hit potholes in the yellow brick road of life. And it’s not the pothole that takes us down, but how we choose to deal with it. We can’t control everything that life throws at us, but we can always control our reaction. Life isn’t about the things that happen to us, but the story we write with the things that happen to us. I want to help you turn a new page, write a new chapter, and remind you that you are not the reader of your fairy tale. You are the author.
  • I believe that our worth isn’t dependent on our size, age, color, or appearance. And that it’s not about looking like a princess (or prince) but feeling like one. I wish I didn’t waste so many years feeling less than. And I wish I had learned to view my health as a state of being rather than a number on a scale.
  • I believe that perspective is everything, and often the solution to our problem lies in our perspective. And sometimes we just need someone to ask the right questions and point us to a different perspective.
  • I don’t believe that I can motivate you, at least not in a lasting way, and that if you are waiting on outside motivation it will be a long empty wait. Motivation comes from within. I can motivate you for an hour, and hopefully teach you how to go motivate yourself and your team. But still the power lies in your hands, not mine.
  • I believe that serving others serves us right back.

Things I Have Learned About Business

Things I Have Learned About Business (everything above, plus…)

  • I believe that the first step in being successful is getting your head in the right place. Work on cultivating your self-esteem, inner motivation, and the knowledge that the best applause comes from within. You can’t sell, lead, manage, chart new paths, and pitch yourself with passion and purpose if you don’t believe in your abilities. Confidence is golden. Arrogance is not.
  • I believe that the ability to connect with people, whether online or in person, is one of the keys to getting business and keeping it – by impacting those we are trying to influence. No matter how virtual our world gets, getting business is still about cultivating relationships. People still do business and work with people they like. We’re still trying to develop relationships – it’s just the playground that has changed. Now we have to figure out how to develop relationships from a computer, on social media, from a website, and the good old face-to-face, which apparently some have still not mastered.
  • I believe that in a crowded market, it’s not being better that gets their attention, but being different. It is assumed you will be remarkable, or you’re not even in the game. To be noticed is to be the pink zebra. (I’ll explain later). I believe that if you want the spotlight in your business, you have to be willing to do what it takes to get out of the chorus line. People in the chorus line don’t take risks, they copy others, they look around, and they work really hard to blend in. I believe that’s the kiss of death. The true joy is in the spotlight. I want to help you develop the courage to step out of the chorus line and into the spotlight. I want to help you stand up and stick out in a crowded market of noise and distractions. And I have seven steps to get you there.
  • I believe that we all have a message we want to share and the desire to be heard above the noise – no matter what your title or job description. We all tell the story of our brand. I believe the ability to tell a good story will serve you well in business because I believe that stories sell better than information. Unfortunately, many of us are still focusing on the features and benefits instead of the story. I can help you get your message out in way that connects. I’m a motivational speaker – it’s what I do for thousands of people every year. I’ve learned a thing or two – at least what not to do.

How Do I Deliver These Messages?

So, How Do I Deliver These Messages?

Ah….now here is what makes me different – the delivery. After all, that’s what you are paying for – the experience. If all you wanted was information you could have just gone to your computer. I was a professional storyteller before I became a motivational speaker. But even before that, I was a writer who fell in love with a town and a cast of characters who bloomed in my head as a child. (Sounds weird, I know. Good thing weird works these days.) My stories come from this town where the simple life is revered, ordinary heroes are appreciated, and the stories aren’t fancy, they’re just about the people. Maybe it’s Bitsy marching through town in her string bikini, or Crazy Man Harry sitting on the corner of Route 29 yelling at traffic, the woman with the mop in the hospital lobby, or Donato in cell block D. There are hundreds of people and just as many stories – each teaching a different truth, or simply making you laugh. I have fallen in love with the people in Prides Hollow, and I think you just might too.

Then there are the stories about me – owning my own business, being a mom, trying to lose weight, drawing on my eyebrows, arguing with my husband over the household budget (we apparently have different definitions of a want versus a need), and trying to raise a child who more often raises me. I don’t come to you perfect (save that for another speaker) – instead I come to you helplessly broken, one hot southern mess, who gets it wrong more than she gets it right – and yet still found a way to make her dreams come true. And hopefully this will encourage you to see past your weaknesses to the strength underneath. It is certainly my intent.

And of course there’s the laughter. That’s a given. Start to finish. I love to laugh. I love to share my quirks. I love to tell you about how I super-glued my foot into my shoe, or how I got locked out of the house in my nightgown while I was waiting for my spray tan to dry, or how I decided to wrap myself in Saran Wrap to surprise my husband, or the time I went through the car wash with my sunroof open. I think my ability to find humor in life, might just rub off on you.

So there’s the stories, the laughter, the messages, and all the other little stuff I use to turn content into a show – because I do believe that you can teach, entertain, and motivate — all at the same time. I believe that attention spans are short and audiences are tired of seeing the same-old-same-old. So I constantly strive to do whatever I can to deliver powerful, fresh, funny, unique content with changes in tempo at every turn. You can ask some of my past clients if they felt I delivered. Or watch some of the testimonial videos.

And then there are the parts I write just for you. It’s really important to me that your group doesn’t get the same speech that I gave to the funeral directors in Topeka the day before. My ability to impact them is strongly dependent on my ability to connect with them – to show them that I get what life is like from where they sit. So I study your group, find out your challenges, study your values and missions, and weave it all into an audience tribute – for you and your industry. Each one is as unique as my creative mood that day. You can find some of my testimonial videos on this site or on YouTube if you want to see what I mean. I’ve written tributes for everything from nursing to banking to exterminators. People love them.

So there you go. I know, it’s a lot to take in. Talking with me is like asking for a drink of water and getting the hose turned on full blast. But I’d rather talk too much than not ask enough questions. Choosing the right speaker is an important job. And I’m not a good fit for every group. If I fit every group, I wouldn’t be that unique, now would I?

Thanks for visiting. Always happy to chat if you want to call and see if my southern accent is for real. Have a super wonder-filled day with plenty of laughter. I’m sure it’s there, if you just know where to look.

See you on the funny side,
Kelly Swanson