August 10, 2016 11:07 AM NPT
Photo Courtesy: Saunak Bhatta
KATHMANDU, Aug 9: With long locks of hair and a full beard, Saunak Bhatta looks more like a member of a heavy metal band than a motivational speaker.
He started his motivational speaking career by speaking to school children in awareness program. In the following years, he has gone on to inspire audiences in sold out venues.
He’s also the executive director of We Inspire Nepal (WIN), where his team designs training sessions on leadership, public speaking, youth motivation and character development.
Saunak has recently wrapped up his India tour. He travelled to four cities in India and spoke at five events, among which three were his solo events. The young motivational speaker talked to Republica about his India trip and reflected on his seven- year long journey as a motivational speaker and trainer.
You have been a motivational speaker for seven years now. How do you reflect back on your journey?
I didn’t actually start out to become a motivational speaker. I was more involved in social clubs and campaigns. As a young social activist, I would visit schools and talk about climate change to students. My friends were impressed by my talks. Slowly I met new people and started networking with them. To me networking was not just giving your introduction to other people. It was more about leaving a lasting impression. And so when there was any event on leadership or character development, people would invite me to talk.
“Motivational speaker” is a tag that came along the way. It was a big tag. I felt I didn’t deserve it because it required a lot of patience, hard work and knowledge. I wanted to build my knowledge first. So I immersed myself in life science literature and got interested in hypnosis. (I’m a certified hypnotherapist). It has only been a couple of years now that I’m comfortable calling myself a motivational speaker.
I’ve had a diverse set of people as my audience. At first it was difficult. I thought that the stories I told to college students wouldn’t work with corporate people. Then with each session, I realized that the basic human traits are the same. Now the things I talk in my seminars are general but at the same time each individual can relate to it.
Your seminars are called “motivational concerts”. Why is that?
People always imagine seminars as something where the sole purpose of the speaker is to make the listeners fall asleep. To avoid that, I wanted to capture the spirit of a rock concert in my seminar. I time my speech with my music team. We use heavy metal songs to sentimental songs according to the flow of my talk, so that way I don’t lose engagement with the audience.
You recently completed your India tour. How was that experience?
The India tour was quite special. I was on my own. And before leaving for India, people were saying all sorts of things like: “Why would Indians listen to a Nepali guy?”
I was invited to five events and travelled four cities: Calcutta, Vadodara, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. My focus was to make my audience realize that the past needs to be healed, the present needs to be enjoyed and the future needs to be designed.
I thought very little people would’ve heard about me. But I met many Indian audiences who had watched my Youtube videos and were at the event just to see me. At one event, I was treated like a star. Eight people escorted me through the crowd. In Calcutta, I received a four minute long standing ovation.
We have a perception that Indians are hostile towards us. But I found them quite hospitable.
What do you want your audience to take home after sitting through your motivational session?
Human beings are programmed in a certain way. My philosophy is to deprogram them and show them that the world can be viewed in a better way. I know for some people my session is plain entertainment. They think that I’m only putting up a performance and they forget everything as soon as the show ends. Even if they congratulate me by saying that I’m a good speaker, I know that I have failed.
My intention is to see positive outcomes. When people send me messages on Facebook about my talks inspiring them to transform their lives, only then I feel that I have succeeded in my mission.
We rarely see Nepali pursuing a full time career as motivational speaker. How is the future for people who want to become motivational speakers in Nepal?
I think the demand for motivational speakers is rising. Students, schools, entrepreneurs and celebrities need life coaches. Now I see so many people interested in adopting this career path because they think anyone can speak. Motivational speaking is not only about speaking. You have to analyze success stories, be interested in life science and communicate your ideas clearly to people.
Only time will filter out the wannabes apart from the genuine professionals.