If you want to learn how to become a motivational speaker, you’re in the right place. The essential things you need to know and the skills that are necessary to make your dream a reality are all here on this page.
Fulfilling your dream of being a motivational speaker, or a speaker who is paid to talk about any topic for that matter, is going to take focus, commitment, and consistent action over time. A wishy-washy intention is simply not going to cut it. You may as well know that right from the start.
If you are ready to begin your journey, browse through this page and pay particular attention to the 12 skills you will need. There are also key sections on the inner secrets and attitude that it takes to succeed as a speaker and motivational speaker.
What Do I Know About How To Become A Motivational Speaker?
So why should you listen to me about how to become a motivational speaker?
These insights are based on my 30 plus years as a professional presenter and my 16 years of running a national Speakers Bureau. We have more than 3,000 professional speakers on our roster. I talk with the best speakers in the industry every week, and I see how they communicate, how they negotiate, what they do, and what they don’t do.
We often receive over 100 requests for speakers in a single month. Microsoft has called us up and asked us to recommend a speaker for them. Thousands of actual paying clients tell me on a regular basis what they’ll pay for and what they won’t; what they want in a speaker – and what they don’t want.
Those same clients tell me things they would never say directly to a speaker. They tell me what they liked about the speaker’s website, video, and 1-sheet, and why they chose one speaker over another. Running a bureau has given me real inside information and ‘behind the veil’ insights into what it really takes to be a successful speaker and motivational speaker.
I have also been coaching speakers and aspiring speakers and helping people get paid for their speaking for 9 years. Several of my coaching students have gone on to make very good money when they speak. One of my students now makes over $10k per speech. None of them had earned any money from their speaking before our coaching. And several now get standing ovations on a regular basis, after taking my “Standing O” module.
Once you learn how to become a motivational speaker you will be able to live a life that most people only dream of. You will have a profound effect and influence on thousands of people. You will be able to take your message of encouragement and hope to people who need it. And you’ll get paid very well to do it.
This blog post is a straight-up honest conversation about what it really takes. So I won’t be talking much about all that glamour. Instead, I will be going into detail about what’s necessary to live that great life; the causes and foundation of it all.
Here Are All 12 Skills A Professional Motivational Speaker Needs
These links are to content on this page
1. Choose your topics and position yourself for success
2. Make your marketing materials.
3. Design your signature speech
4. Close bookings over the phone
5. Speak for free and turn free gigs into paid and profitable ones
6. Make your demo video
7. Create your speaker’s website
8. Acquire the traits of the most successful speakers
9. How to set and raise your speaking fee
10. Generate lots of paid speaking leads and opportunities
11. Leverage out of the marketing
12. Work with Speakers Bureaus
BONUS Skill: How To Get A Standing Ovation Every Time
Why Become A Motivational Speaker Who is PAID
You have a unique voice to share with the world, a message, and a passion. Speaking is a bridge for sharing your vision with people and affecting them in a way that enhances the quality of their lives.
To do it well, and devote all the time it takes to do it at all, you need to get paid for it. Otherwise, it is likely to remain just a dream. Think of any top motivational speaker out there who is making a difference in people’s lives. They are all paid to speak. Once you learn how to make money from your speaking, you will be able to reach more people with your vision.
What’s Required To Become A Motivational Speaker?
The first step on how to become a motivational speaker is to give public talks and get good audience responses. This means you have to be able to do 2 things:
- Plan a presentation
- Deliver it well several times
If you need to work on this, I recommend that you join Toastmasters in your area. Toastmasters is an exceptional organization designed to help people become more comfortable speaking in public. To find a Toastmasters group in your area, simply search Toastmasters + Your City on Google. You can find their main website here: Toastmasters International.
When you are comfortable speaking in public and are getting good audience responses, then it’s time to consider if you want to be paid to speak. That’s what the resources on this page are all about.
The Secret of How To Become A Motivational Speaker
So what’s the real secret of getting PAID to speak and being a successful motivational speaker? It is simply this: Acquire a set of skills. This is what it’s really all about. The most successful public speakers all possess the set of 12 skills that are detailed later in this post.
In addition, almost all of them have a set of additional traits in common. Here are some of them:
Be driven and intent on sharing your vision and getting out there in front of people.
They Are In Momentum
Take regular action every week.
They Improve Regularly
Constantly be improving every aspect of your speaking business.
The Speak a Lot
Get out there and get in front of people.
They Work With a Coach
Stop trying to figure it all out yourself and get some help.
The 4 Biggest Mistakes Aspiring Speakers Make
I have noticed that those who are new to the speaking industry often make the same mistakes. Here are the ones I see most often:
1. They Don’t Go All In
Many people who dream of being a motivational speaker do just that; they dream about it. And unfortunately, they don’t really get much further than that. When I compare them with those I’ve seen who have succeeded it is crystal clear. The ones who never got anywhere stay in that fuzzy grey area of considering it, thinking about it, etc. They never decide to go for it and not look back.
A famous quote on commitment says that once we truly commit then ‘providence moves too”.
2. They Don’t Acquire The Complete Set of Skills They Need To Be Successful
This is a BIG one. Most aspiring speakers I’ve seen in the past decade don’t treat public speaking as a career. They don’t work with a coach, get training, or find a mentor who knows the game. They try to do it all themselves and rarely get it right. I will have more to say on this later as it is so common and is virtually a guaranteed way to fail.
You may have noticed that this post does not go on and on about the glamourous life of traveling the world giving talks about what you love to talk about making amazing money etc. Yes, that is all possible. But it all rests on the not-as-glamourous skills that really cause you to be a pro and live that amazing lifestyle. My recommendation is to focus on BOTH the cause (skills you need) AND the dream. They both have their place.
Whatever you do, be determined to get good at the essential skills of your new profession – The Public Speaking Business. Notice that I did NOT just call it public speaking. I called it a Public Speaking Business. Because to call it ‘public speaking’ would imply that it is only about giving speeches. You’re going to have to learn and do a lot more than just give nice talks if you really want to learn how to become a motivational speaker.
3. They Lose Their Momentum
It takes some consistent effort, especially in the beginning, to set up your speaking business. Then it is much easier after that. You need to stick with it long enough to complete a set of ‘mini-projects’. This is especially important to consider in this era of distractions. In my experience, for most people, it takes around 6 months to get all the foundational things in place. I have seen it done faster than that.
Some of the initial 1-time actions required to get your new motivational speaking business off the ground are:
- First and foremost – choose the right topics and position yourself correctly
- Have your speaker’s website designed
- Create a good 1-sheet, bio, and topic descriptions
- Have the right kind of photo of yourself taken
- Learn how to sell your speeches over the phone so they hire you
- Create a price sheet and contract
- Design your signature 1-hour presentation
- Deliver your main presentation several times to hone it and improve it
- Record those presentations so you have raw video footage
- Have a demo video using footage from those first presentations
- Put your demo video on your website in the right places
4. They Make Their Marketing Materials Themselves (And It Shows)
This may be the single biggest mistake that both aspiring and ‘professional’ speakers make. Just because you CAN use desktop publishing, doesn’t mean you should. In the speaking industry, you are the high-paid expert, and the source people are turning to.
Most people who book you as a motivational speaker, or a speaker on any other topic for that matter, will never have seen you speak before an audience. They have to believe you will be good in front of all their peers. How do they know you’re any good?
If they use a Speakers Bureau like mine, we will lend you a lot of credibility. We know the industry and who is good and who isn’t, and many clients like the comfort of that endorsement. Otherwise, they have to hire you based on your marketing materials.
Either way, your marketing materials have to look great. They are selling you. So they have to be a LOT better than you think. Having seen thousands of speaker press kits, and thousands of speakers’ videos, and 1 sheets, I can tell you that MOST aspiring and even professional speakers just don’t get this.
I remember once being on over a hundred speakers’ websites in just one day. I was trying to find a few speakers for a client for an event they were holding. It was just sad how unprofessional the majority of the websites and videos were. Many didn’t even HAVE demo videos. And there I was, with a client standing by, money in hand, ready to pay for a speaker.
This happened so many times over the years, that I finally stepped out of my business one weekend and paced up and down my living room floor for a few days trying to figure this out. I finally made the decision to form a separate coaching company to help speakers get all this stuff right. That’s when I built BecomeASpeaker.net.
What Are The Startup Costs To Become A Motivational Speaker
To become a paid public speaker includes some startup costs. There are ways to reduce these costs a lot so that your entire professional speaker setup is around $1750. That’s assuming you can create a professional-looking website yourself. Otherwise, I suggest adding another $1,500 or so for a basic website design and good website designer.
This is obviously an estimate and your costs may vary of course. However, I have seen speakers get it all done for under $2,000 when they made their own websites.
That figure does not include the cost of your training or coaching to learn how to put all of this together correctly. That’s a low investment when you consider that you could make it all back in a single speech or two.
So your overall startup costs are:
- A Coach – your training or coach
- A Website – your speaker website, hosting, and domain name
- Video Footage – of at least 3 presentations you’ve given for your demo video
- Video Editing – editing of your video clips into a demo video
- Some Graphic Design – for your stationery, 1-sheet, bio, etc.
- Marketing – some LOW cost and NO cost marketing to begin getting speaking opportunities
Why Professional Motivational Speakers Struggle
A RARE thing exists in this industry like no other. Approximately 75% of the ‘professional’ speakers are not qualified for bookings. Basically, they have tried to wing it in this profession by writing their own copy, creating their own website, writing their own topic descriptions, choosing their topics without any help, etc.
It is essential that you understand that this is a HIGH-GLOSS profession. In other words, you’re competing with people who have spent some money to make their marketing materials look really good. It’s not that expensive to do so actually. But it makes those who have done it all themselves look very amateurish.
Once you learn the main 12 skills I have outlined on this page, you will run circles around MOST professional speakers. That is an amazing thing because in very few professions are most of the participants measurably unqualified. The speaking industry happens to be one of them. So all you have to do is get the skills and you will instantly be the speaker of choice. You will get the gig a lot of the time, they will not.
Time and time again, over the years, I have seen countless speakers who are missing essential elements that are required for success as a speaker. My Speakers Bureau can’t book any of these so-called ‘professional’ speakers even if we wanted to.
Over and over again my two full-time booking coordinators have come into my office with sad faces. They explain how yet another client, with money in hand, is standing by, but they can’t recommend a particular speaker whom they know would be a great fit because the speaker has made one or more of these mistakes:
- Their video just isn’t quite right
- Their topics aren’t aligned with what the client wants and will pay for
- Their website has certain elements that will turn the client off
- The copy on their 1-sheet is weak
- They botched the last 10-minute call with a client of ours because
they didn’t know some simple language for closing a gig over the phone
And the list goes on. Most ‘so-called’ professional speakers are sadly lacking many of their required professional skill sets. Oh yes, they’re good at the speaking part, but since they’re missing these other skills, they are doomed to struggle as speakers.
If you were setting out to become a professional tennis player, how successful do you think you would be if you had a lousy Serve, and a mediocre Backhand – and never really took the time to fix them and make them better?
Your Hidden Opportunity To Become A Speaker
Their failure is your incredible opportunity.
All you have to do is learn the complete set of 12 professional speaker skills outlined in this post, and you will stand out among the choices that clients have. You will rise to the point of being a real ‘working pro’ quite quickly. You are likely to begin making good money, getting booked, and winning gig after gig.
After 16 years in this industry, I can say emphatically, that it all comes down to how you go about how to become a motivational speaker (or public speaker) that matters most. In other words, treat it like a career. Lay a solid foundation. Then add one thing on top of another thing on top of that foundation.
Since most who enter this industry are woefully underqualified, you have a real advantage if you simply go about it in the right way.