How to Become a Motivational Speaker

How to Become a Motivational Speaker

How to Become a Motivational Speaker

Updated 12 May 2021

Written by Melissa Reynolds
Melissa Reynolds

Motivational speaking can be a great career if you have a strong message to send and are comfortable in front of large groups of people.

Motivational speaking involves using your speeches to share a powerful message that you have developed through life experience.

The best motivational speakers have a story that packs an emotional punch and stays with the listener long after hearing it. It inspires and motivates the listener to do something better with their own lives.

They have passion for their message and believe in what they are speaking about. A great speaker is not faking their enthusiasm.

If becoming a motivational speaker is something that you feel you would be good at, you need to understand what they do, how they do it and the skills needed to be successful.

What Is a Motivational Speaker?

A motivational speaker can also be known as a public speaker.

They are effective at speaking about a particular passion and affecting their audience.

A motivational speaker is someone who gives speeches in the hopes of inspiring and motivating others the way they have been.

A motivational speaker has an area of life experience that they are passionate about and hope to teach others about.

The goal of a motivational speaker is to help their audience see the possibilities in their lives, rather than dwelling on the negatives. They want their audience to come away thinking “Wow, that was amazing", but also, “How can I experience that same sort of understanding, joy, success?”.

Motivational speakers give live speeches to groups of people. They can also have websites where they can be viewed, podcasts, radio, television and even books.

Types of Motivational Speakers

Not all speakers focus on the same area. There are a few different types of motivational speakers.

  • Personal motivational speakers focus on a life experience or turning point that inspired them and use that story to try to inspire and motivate others. It could be something that changed the path of their life, made them change the way they were living or something they strongly believe in.
  • Business motivational speakers talk about the success they have had in the business world with the goal of inspiring others to achieve their own business success. It could be they had little success until something happened or they learned or invented a new way of doing something that led to great success.
  • Youth mentors speak to groups of young children to inspire and motivate them to stay in school, study, work hard, be healthy and be happy. They work to inspire them to grow up to be productive, positive adults.
  • Subject matter speakers are brought in to speak because they are knowledgeable about a particular area. For instance, they may be an expert on climate change, economics or even internet safety.

Essentially anyone can become a motivational speaker if they have a message to share that people want to hear. There is a lot of crossover from other careers.

Many business leaders go on to do motivational speaking about success they have had in their business work. They may have created a system of doing things that they hope to encourage others to adopt or want to inspire others to achieve the same success they have had.

The major role of any religious leader, pastor, priest or minister is to inspire their followers through inspirational speech. During their services they give speeches meant to emphasize ideas and thoughts.

Teachers do a lot of motivational speaking, even if they do not recognize it as such. Every day they stand in front of their classes and the words they say can resonate with their students. They can inspire them to do well in school and in life.

Many professors act as public speakers every time they stand up to lecture in front of their class. Like teachers, they can motivate and inspire with their words and shape the lives of young people.

Politicians can also be great motivational speakers. Every time they give a speech they are focusing on the positive, what they can do for their town, city, country and, in turn, what their audience can do too. Their goal is to inspire in the hopes that their audience is inspired to vote for them.

Why Should You Become a Public Speaker?

There are many benefits to working as a public speaker that you may not have thought of.

Even if you do not do it as a career, it is a beneficial skill to have.

We have listed several below for consideration:

  • See the world. Good speakers who are in demand will have the opportunity to travel quite a bit. You can make your own schedule and decide which speaking requests you will take and when. It can be a great way to see places you have not seen before, and perhaps stay a bit after speaking to explore.
  • Work-life balance. Being a motivational speaker allows for a lot of freedom regarding your work hours and location. You can plan to speak when you want and where you want. You can make your own hours and decide when and where you want to go.
  • Helping others. Working as a motivational speaker allows you to reach large groups of people and offer them help and inspiration. Motivational speaking is a job that can make you feel good about what you have done for others.
  • Be creative. If you are creative, public speaking can offer you a great outlet for that creativity. You can write your own speeches and deliver them in your own manner.
How to Become a Motivational Speaker

What Skills Are Required?

Many skills, both informal and formal, are needed to be an effective motivational speaker. Some skills are innate and some are learned.

These are the skills a good speaker should have:

Confidence

Anyone who plans to speak in front of large groups of people needs to have the confidence that they know what they are doing.

You need to have confidence in the message you are trying to send and that your audience will be receptive.

Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of large crowds. If you get stage fright, then motivational speaking might not be for you. You need the confidence to stand in front of a large crowd and not get nervous.

Enthusiasm

A good speaker has enthusiasm for their topic, which they pass on to their audience. If you do not feel passion for your topic, your audience is not going to feel it either.

A great motivational speaker sparks inspiration in their audience and this can only be done if you feel what you are speaking.

Communication

Being able to communicate clearly and in a relaxed, friendly and engaging manner is key to public speaking.

You do not want to appear tense and rushed. You want to be able to speak in a relaxed tone that keeps your audience relaxed too.

You want to be able to articulate clearly what you are saying so that your audience understands and receives your message.

Presence

Some people simply have a strong presence that makes others want to listen and be around them.

As a motivational speaker, you need to be someone that people want to listen to.

Humor

Humor can go a long way in breaking the ice and can help the audience relate to you. Laughter can also help you and your audience relax.

Speech Writing Skills

Because the message is coming from you, you need to have the skills to write a moving speech that will resonate with your audience.

You can hire someone to help you with this, but the strong story of your message needs to come from you.

Marketing Skills

You need to know how to get your name out there as a motivational speaker.

As you gain momentum, you may be able to hire a marketing firm to take care of this for you, but initially it is up to you.

Steps to Becoming a Motivational Speaker

You cannot simply step out one day and decide to deliver a motivational speech.

There are several steps you need to go through before taking your message to an audience:

Start Writing Speeches

Only you can get your career started. Every speech delivered by a motivational speaker has its own purpose and message.

You will likely have to write many speeches before you hit upon the message that is right for you.

A great speech needs a message that the audience can take away. The best speeches draw on something personal that you have experienced and learned from.

Find Your Audience

Motivational speakers are nothing without an audience.

If you are just starting out, it will be up to you to reach out to places where you could speak.

Dig into your personal contacts and contact suitable local groups. Have a website or demo reel to show them what you are about and why they might want to hear what you have to say. Don't forget to show them why you are qualified to talk about your topic.

Be sure to approach the appropriate groups for your speech. If your speech centers around a business experience, then most likely workplaces and business groups would be your target audience.

Set a Goal

You likely will not begin making a lot of money with speaking right away.

Set a goal of how many speeches you will give before you start to make some money, and how much money you hope to make per speaking engagement.

Evaluate and Improve

As you begin to work, it is important to understand where you can make improvements.

You can begin by recording some of your live speeches and noting where your performance may be lacking.

Audience feedback is equally important. Offer your audiences a way to let you know what they think by either a form handed out prior to the speech, or via your website or email.

Ask friends to sit in on one of your speeches and give you some honest feedback.

Register Your Earnings and Expand Marketing

Once you have begun to earn some money with motivational speaking, it would be a good idea to open proper business accounts and register your earnings with the appropriate authority.

This will help you expand your business further and reach out to more people.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a motivational speaker can be a great career move. Not only can it inspire and move your audience, but it can also bolster your own self-esteem.

If you feel that you have the skills to make a good speaker, then now is the time to start.

Ask yourself if you have the confidence, presence and speech writing skills to get going. If the answer is yes, you are well on your way.

Think about the message you want to send, about an event or something that has happened to you, and begin to write about it. Write as many speeches as you can to get practice.

When you feel you are ready, contact as many places as you can looking for an opening to speak. You can even begin by setting yourself up with a website to post recorded speeches.

The more you get your name out there, the greater your chances of booking a speaking engagement will be.

You should soon be well on your way. What has motivated you to become a motivational speaker will hopefully soon motivate others as well.


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