No one is totally worthless. We can always serve as a bad example. Joe Malarkey showed his TTMA audience how.

Starting with the traditional opening line, Malarkey turned convention speeches upside down.

“It’s great to speak to you today,” he said. “I don’t get to speak to many audiences. To me, the opportunity to speak to you today is rich. For you, it’s not going to be that good.”

He said that TTMA arranged a conference call to discuss the speech that he would present, but he admitted that he does not like conference calls and that he slept through most of this one.

“I wrote a new presentation especially for trailer manufacturers. I ran it by your leadership this morning, and I guess you could best describe their response as angry. They didn’t like the title, either—‘Truck Trailers: America’s Silent Killers.’”

Malarkey offered TTMA leaders a last-minute alternative—a new presentation that he developed last week. He said, though, that his wife didn’t like it when he asked her to evaluate it. “She didn’t care for it one bit and was not at all encouraging to me. I know I’m not the best convention speaker and I don’t make a lot of money, but is that any reason for her to start dating again?”

Malarkey said he is unlike any other motivational speaker. He added that other motivational speakers have asked him to say that.

Should convention audiences put much credence in motivational speakers? Malarkey doesn’t think so.

“They all brag about what they have accomplished.” He said. “But why are they wasting their time talking to you? If they really are all that great, why aren’t they out there managing or selling something?

Success comes highly touted, but failure sneaks up on us, Malarkey said. He has developed a list of failure’s signs, which he calls exits on the road to success.

He promoted his “Joe Malarkey Choose to Lose” system. Under this system, expect the worst possible thing to happen. If it does, take joy in being right. If it doesn’t, take joy in the fact that things went better than you expected.

Malarkey does not agree with motivational speakers who advise visualizing something and then thinking about it constantly. If you do, you can become what you dream about. But Malarkey says that’s not true. “If that were the case,” he said, “I would be a woman.”

To-do lists are not important to Malarkey, but he admits that we feel good when we can mark something off. To maximize the effectiveness of a to-do list, he recommends never putting anything on the to-do list until you are ready to mark it off.

“By now, most of you have figured out that what I have been saying is a joke,” Malarkey said. “For those of you who haven’t, I will be selling stuff.”

As he closed, Malarkey became serious, pointing out several famous instances where failure was the springboard to success. One of those was Thomas Edison who did not consider his efforts leading up to the invention of the lightbulb to be failures, but rather 999 unfeasible approaches that he successfully identified.

“At least that’s what we think he said,” Malarkey concluded. “Of course, he was writing in the dark.” ♦

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