How To Become A Motivational Speaker

How To Become A Motivational Speaker or Public Speaker


Are You Ready To Begin Your Journey, Take Your
Message To The World, and
Learn How To
Get Paid For Your Presentations?


The 12 Skills You Need Are On This Page  . . .

CHOOSE ONE, And Get Started Today

how to become a motivational speaker

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?  

Alexander Van Buren

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 

how to become a motivational speakerYou 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:  

They’re Driven
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 


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: 

  1. A Coach – your training or coach
  2. A Website – your speaker website, hosting, and domain name
  3. Video Footage – of at least 3 presentations you’ve given for your demo video
  4. Video Editing – editing of your video clips into a demo video
  5. Some Graphic Design – for your stationery, 1-sheet, bio, etc.
  6. Marketing – some LOW cost and NO cost marketing to begin getting speaking opportunities


Why Professional Motivational Speakers Struggle 

Why professional motivational speakers struggleA 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. 

The 12 Skills Every Professional Speaker Needs

The 12 skills below are the keys for how to become a motivational speaker.

Each skill is available as a 1-hour phone coaching session with me. Your coaching session includes:

  • Handouts
  • Instruction in the main topic of the session
  • Suggested action steps
  • An optional follow-up email exchange

The entire set of skills is available for a very special discounted price.
Get the complete set of skills ->


Skill #1: Clarify Your Topics & Positioning

how to become a motivational speaker with these topicsThe first thing to do, once you’ve decided to become a motivational speaker is to choose your topics.

What will you talk about? Choose things you’re passionate about first, then find out if there is a market and some demand for the thing you want to talk about. 

It’s also possible to work your passions into a talk on one of the main topics that is already in demand. Pick one main topic, then two backups. No more than 3 topics, otherwise you can look like a dilettante to prospective clients and Bureaus. It’s important to remember that when you choose your speaking topics, you’re also positioning and ‘branding’ yourself in the industry.

If you get this right, your passion centers will be overlapped with profit centers – that is, areas where the demand is high. You can travel the world, speaking about what you are most passionate about, and get paid very well to do it. When speakers get this wrong, they struggle, sometimes for years. So choose carefully. 

  • Get help becoming clear on your best 3 speaking topics 
  • Position yourself and your topics
  • Learn which topics are HOT, and which ones always will be in demand
  • Learn which topics to avoid at all costs 
  • Learn which topics will make you 10 times the money 
  • Get a set of branding phrases to do no-cost effective branding
  • How to turn your passion centers into speaking profit centers



Module #2: Create Your Marketing Materials

Required Marketing Materials Every Motivational Speaker NeedsCreating the right kind of marketing materials is one of the most vital secrets of how to become a motivational speaker. 

Flat out, no question about it – the speakers who get the gigs most of the time are the ones with the best marketing materials. It’s not really fair, but it’s the reality. 

Constructing them all yourself is quite possibly the biggest mistake speakers make. This High-Paid and High-Gloss Industry makes them look like obvious amateurs. They often struggle to get bookings and they don’t know why, even though they are great presenters and have a message people need to hear. 

 In the selling of services and products, there are 2 core processes involved: 

  1. Generating leads (Marketing)
  2. Converting those leads into satisfied customers (Sales) 

Your speaker marketing materials are the heart of your conversion process. If they’re not done right, you don’t get many conversions, no matter how many leads or how much ‘traffic’ you create. 

However, when you get the marketing materials right, prospective clients look at them and often say “How much is it to hire you for our group?”  Just like that. 

  • Help with the copy and creation of your 1 Sheet
  • Help with the copy and creation of your BIO 
  • Help with the copy and creation of your Topic Descriptions
  • Help with the copy for a description of what makes you Unique As A Speaker
  • Help with the copy and creation of your Price Sheet
  • Learn the right kind of Picture of yourself taken 
  • Help to create a “Bureau-Friendly” 1 Sheet



Skill #3: Design An Awesome Motivational Speech 

how to become a motivational speaker and design your main talkYour main speech is what most people will see. It’s the one that needs to be really great.

So choose your one topic, and create an over-the-top speech that is a true reputation maker. This will create a wonderful reputation for you quickly. It will get you more bookings. It will get you on your way. 

This 1 presentation should be 1 hour long. You must be prepared to lengthen it a little or shorten it a little on request in case a client needs it. 

This signature speech of yours is one of the most powerful tools in your motivational speaker’s toolkit. Focus on it. Create it. Then rehearse and present it over and over until it always gets a great audience response. All top motivational speakers have done this. Later, you can put together a couple more talks. But when you’re just starting out, focus on this one speech. 

  • Learn a proven formula for an awesome motivational speech
  • How to hone a motivational speech to an emotional crescendo
  • Help to create your opening, sequencing, and closing
  • How to choose the right stories 
  • How to tell stories in a way that moves people
  • How to use quotes, action steps, and emotional triggers 
  • Learn how to always make your audience feel engaged 
  • A critique of any videos you have made delivering this speech
  • Presentation skills and rehearsal tips and techniques  
  • The best way to memorize your speech



Skill #4: Get The Gig Over The Phone


How to sell your motivational speech over the phoneThe good news about being a motivational speaker is that you don’t have to be great at selling. (unless your topic is selling of course) 

All you have to do is have the right language and approach when you talk to prospective clients over the phone. If you can do that, you can close a lot of speeches. 

Yet the vast majority of speakers don’t do this well. They have no script, they try and sell, they go on and on about themselves. 

On the other hand, once an event planner has seen your impressive marketing materials, they will almost always want to speak to you. It’s a big decision for them. You’re going to be appearing in front of their entire group at their big event. 

So if you know what to say, and how to say it, and what NOT to say, then you can close a high percentage of these speaking opportunities. 

I asked the #1 speaker on my Bureau’s list of over 3,000 speakers, how he closes 2 out of 3 speaking opportunities I send him. Almost no one else can even come close to this. And he laid it out for me in detail word-for-word. I use it. It works. And I can teach it to you. 

  • The word for word script that closes speaker bookings over the phone
  • The 3 biggest mistakes speakers make on the phone that loses them the gig
  • How to know if you’re a good fit for their event and audience
  • How to NOT sound like a salesman and yet close booking after booking
  • How to get them to pay in full and upfront almost every time.
  • Simple ways to close the gig in just 10 minutes over the phone



Skill #5: How To Turn FREE Speaking Gigs Into Profit

how to become a motivational speaker and get free speaking opportunitiesOne of the most important things you need to do when you’re starting out on how to become a motivational speaker is to give lots of free speeches.

There are several reasons for this. First, it is one of the best ways to hone your main speech and improve your speaking ability in front of LIVE audiences. 

Second, it’s a great way to get lots of video clips to put into your demo video.

And finally, as the great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said “There’s no such thing as a free speech.” What he meant is that every free speech you give is an opportunity for you to make money, if you know how.

Ziglar, in fact, once gave a free speech early on in his career. At that speech was an audience member who owned a company with divisions all over the USA. That audience member booked Ziglar to speak around the country many times, for pay, essentially sending him on tour, and earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Not bad for a ‘free’ speech. 

  • Learn a proven formula for getting lots of free speaking opportunities
  • How to appropriately enroll people into your workshops
  • How to get almost everyone in an audience onto your email list in minutes
  • How to identify your best local target groups 
  • Groups to avoid and why 
  • A word for word email script for contacting prospective groups
  • Positioning your presentation so you get lots of local bookings
  • Help with creating an enrollment form, offer, and call to action 
  • Other ways to make money from giving free speeches



Skill #6: Plan And Develop Your Demo Video

How to create Your Motivational Speaker's Demo VideoHere’s something most aspiring motivational speakers don’t know, and many people who call themselves professional speakers still don’t know:

Your Demo Video is The #1 Thing They Will Use To Decide Whether To Book You or Not. 

That’s right. So if you have no demo video, on your website, you’re not even in the game. You’re a carpenter without a hammer, a tennis player without a racquet, an accountant without a calculator, a . . . OK, I think you get the idea. 

When your demo video is done a certain way, it will cause event planners to feel confident that you would be a good fit for their event. They will want to contact you to validate their first impression, discuss your price and get more details. 

The majority of speaker’s demo videos that I see online lack many of these essential elements.

I mentioned earlier that one day I was on over 100 speakers’ websites, watching all their videos. I’ve easily seen over 5,000 speaker’s videos over the years. I know exactly what the best ones look like and what they contain that makes them so effective. 

Once you build the right elements into your demo video, it becomes an automated sales machine that convinces people that you are the one they want to book. 

  • Learn the precise sequence the best speakers use in their demo videos
  • How long should your demo video be? 
  • The right kind of video and the wrong kind. Multiple videos?
  • The biggest mistake speakers make on their demo videos
  • Where should your demo video be on your website?
  • What should be on the front plate, and on the finish plate
  • A critique of any video you have, or any demo video you’re working on
  • The one secret that will save you thousands of dollars in editing fees
  • How to find videographers and what instructions to give them 
  • How to make a ‘Bureau-Friendly’ demo video
  • View correct demo videos and see speaker-video-disasters online



Skill #7: Create Your Motivational Speaker’s Web Site


Design your website to become a motivational speaker

One of the first things a prospective client is going to see is your website. It’s one of the most critical pieces of your marketing materials. 

Your website says a LOT about you. 

First, you need to have a website that is dedicated entirely to your public speaking. This is essential. All professional paid public speakers have one of these. 

More importantly, in order for someone to consider hiring you and paying you to speak at their event, your speaker’s website must contain a certain set of elements or aspects. Once you know what these aspects are, you can make your website yourself, if you know how to do it, and simply build them in. I’ve seen several speakers do it.

It is preferable however to hire a website designer to do it for you. They will not know the elements that must be on a professional speaker’s website. You must know what they are and insist that they be built into your website.  

Most aspiring and professional speakers’ websites are leaving a TON of money on the table because their websites are lacking one or more of these required elements. When all the correct elements are on your website, a person looking for a speaker on one of your topics simply can’t help but want to hire you or at least talk with you about the possibility of booking you. 

The right website, done the right way, is that powerful. It becomes a kind of automatic selling machine. If your website is done correctly, then by the time they call you to inquire, the sale is halfway done. 

  • A list of all the essential elements that should be on a pro speaker’s website
  • What MUST be on your speaker’s website and what should never be on it
  • Why you should NOT have a calendar on your website
  • A complete checklist to give to your webmaster 
  • View a dozen money-making  speaker’s websites to emulate 
  • Why you should never put your fees on your website and what to do instead
  • How to design your website so it generates more actual inquiries  
  • The most common mistakes speakers make and why they turn off buyers
  • What type of site gets you more bookings and why 
  • How to get a great professional logo for $20
  • How to get a great website designed for you for thousands less
  • Simple SEO tips that will generate inquiries for years and cost you nothing



Skill #8: Acquire The Traits of The Most Successful Motivational Speakers

Acquire the traits of the best motivational speakersIf you learn every other skill on this page to the highest level of mastery but don’t obtain these traits, I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t succeed as a professional public speaker. No matter how hard you try. No matter how hard you work. And no matter how gifted you are. 

I have NEVER seen a top, successful, high-paid public speaker, and I’ve worked with thousands of them via my Speakers Bureau for more than 16 years, who did not possess this set of traits. In fact, that’s precisely where I discovered and modeled them.

Many speakers are missing some of the essential traits they need in order to be successful, and they don’t know it. So no matter what they do, they don’t seem to succeed. It’s almost like they have set a thermostat on their career, and it won’t go any higher until they acquire certain personality traits. 

In many ways, learning what these traits are, and acquiring them, is your fast-track to success as a professional speaker, motivational speaker, or keynote presenter. 

If I had to begin my speaking career all over again tomorrow, to demonstrate my knowledge of how to become a motivational speaker, this is one of the very first things I would do. I would wire the essential traits of the best motivational speakers into my habits from the very start. 

  • The specific set of traits modeled from the best professional speakers
  • Which traits are most important and why
  • The handful of traits to avoid because they will ruin your career
  • The #1 all-important trait you must have as a speaker
  • NLP techniques for installing any trait – and making sure it’s ecological to do so
  • How to eliminate undesirable traits and habits 
  • How to express each trait appropriately in various speaker-related contexts 
  • The superlative traits that only the very best of the best have  



Skill #9: How To Set Your Speaking Fees And How To Raise Them

how to become a motivational speakerWhen you’re just starting out as a speaker, it helps a lot to set a fee that you are comfortable with.

Later, as you give more speeches and get better and better responses, it will be time to raise your fee a little bit.

But remember, you must have a speaking fee. Even if you choose to speak for free, you should still have a professional fee, which you are waving in particular circumstances.

Many speakers who are just starting out struggle with setting a price to charge. 

Many professional speakers struggle with raising their speaking fees. Some try to raise their fee, then they stop getting inquiries and bookings, so they are forced to lower it again. 

There are a key set of insights that will help you set your fees and raise them when you want to. 

  • How to establish a starting fee you are comfortable with 
  • How to know when to raise your speaking fee
  • How much to raise your fee
  • How to feel worthy of a higher fee
  • Common mistakes speakers make when they try to raise their speaking fee
  • Specific language to use when quoting your speaking fee
  • How to be more comfortable when you quote your speaking fee
  • How to raise your fee so it works, and people pay it 
  • How to make over $5,000 per speech every time you get booked 
  • How to hit the 10k mark
  • How to earn OVER 10k per speech on a regular basis 



Skill #10: Generate PAID Speaking Leads & Opportunities

how to become a motivational speaker and get paid speaking opportunitiesOnce you have your 1-sheet, bio, topic descriptions, and price sheet, AND you have a website dedicated to your motivational speaking, AND you have a good demo video on that website – then, you’re ready to start bringing traffic to your website.

The good news about getting paid speaking gigs is that you can generate quite a lot of them using NO-cost and LOW-cost methods. 

One thing to remember is that you must own the lead generation process. In other words, you must step into it, do it on a weekly basis, keep the ball rolling, and simply consider it to be a required part of what you do.

When you become a professional motivational speaker, one who gets paid to speak, you are required to market your speaking services. And you can’t delegate it to someone else until you first understand how to do it. That’s an important point. We cannot effectively delegate anything we don’t first understand. 

I have generated over 100 monthly requests for a speaker using LOW cost and NO cost marketing methods. Then, I automated the whole process. Day in and day out the requests come rolling in. Without placing a single ad. Without joining ANY associations. And without having to spend that much time doing the marketing. 

You don’t have to make any cold calls. You don’t have to run ads unless you want to. And you don’t have to beg Speakers Bureaus for gigs. And yet you can generate lots of paid speaking opportunities once you know how. 

  • Groups, clubs and associations to join
  • How to network at the groups and associations you choose
  • Proven LOW cost and NO cost lead generation techniques 
  • How to create a huge list of prospects 
  • How to get repeat bookings
  • Online lead generation methods to get paid speaking gigs
  • Offline lead generation methods to get paid speaking gigs 
  • Using joint ventures to get gigs – one of the best methods
  • How to find new niche markets and then tap into them
  • How the most successful speakers market themselves
  • Tracking and improving your lead generation and enjoying the process



Skill #11: Leverage Out Of The Marketing

leverage out of the marketingOnce you know how speaking leads are generated, you can automate the entire process, so that you don’t have to do it. 

I recommend that every speaker learn to do this at some point in their career. The reason is that when you can step out of the marketing process, you’ll have more time to give speeches, share your dream, travel, and appear in front of audiences.

By ‘leveraging out of the marketing’ I mean automating it. Make it so that it requires very little time on your part, and get it automatically bringing in lots of requests for you to speak.

You can also leverage out of the negotiation and initial conversation that takes place when someone wants to book you. You can hire an employee or an outsourcer, and train them to do that initial conversation for you. They can even issue the contract for you. All you do is approve it and sign it. This is a proven way to simply travel the world, giving motivational speeches, with little time spent doing the marketing stuff. 

One very important point here: If you choose to outsource the booking conversation, it is vital that you supervise and monitor your employee or direct report. I have talked to speaker’s representatives who were so rude, that I simply decided NEVER to book or work with that speaker ever again.

And the speaker likely didn’t even know that they lost a gig because they were out of the loop of communication. They didn’t know that they lost an entire STREAM of future bookings from my Speakers Bureau, or that their reputation was being ruined by their inept representative. So be very careful when you outsource this. It can make your career or ruin it fast. 

  • How to select and interview the right employee or outsourcer
  • How to train someone to do the booking process correctly
  • How to supervise and track them so as to stay in the communication loop
  • Exact scripts to use to train them to do the booking process for you
  • How to automate your online lead generation 
  • How to automate your offline lead generation 
  • The 3 best ways to compensate your booking coordinator
  • The 5 best ways to motivate your booking coordinator
  • When to step in and do the booking process yourself



Skill #12: How To Work With Speakers Bureaus 

How to work with speakers bureausWorking with Speakers Bureaus is not for beginners. In fact, approaching Speakers Bureaus too soon could be very detrimental to your career.

If you contact a Speakers Bureau too soon, when you’re not ready, you can end up ruining the relationship, and along with it, any possibility of working with that Bureau.

Speakers Bureaus will find you and want to work with you, ONLY after you’re making good money. Why is this? Simple – they work on commission. Bureaus are not paid by the companies who seek them out for their speaker recommendations. They are paid by you, the SPEAKER, out of your speaker’s fee. 

Good Bureaus will get you more bookings, more consistent bookings, and often they will get you more money. Many of them handle most of the miscellaneous details so all you have to do is to speak. Speakers Bureaus are not agents, so they don’t manage your career, etc. 

So wait until you are making good money on a consistent basis before contacting Speakers Bureaus. Then, the secret is to select a handful of Bureaus, say 5 to 10, and build excellent relationships with them by creating lots of value. They’ll all book you more often. You’ll be on their list of “Go-To” speakers. All Bureaus have a few speakers like this whom they love to work with and love to book. We do. 

The average standard commission that Speakers Bureaus charge is 25%. That fee is not taken out of any travel expenses in most all cases, just out of the main speaking fee. This percentage can vary up or down of course depending on the industry and the bureau. 

Once you learn to build relationships with 5-10 Speakers Bureaus, they will send you a stream of bookings month in and month out. I know speakers who don’t do any marketing anymore and have no contact information on their website because 5 to10 Speakers Bureaus are sending them constant speaking engagements. They simply travel around the world doing nothing but speaking. 

  • The essential keys to working with Speakers Bureaus
  • Language for approaching Speakers Bureaus
  • 3 things that will maintain your relationships with Speakers Bureaus
  • The biggest mistakes speakers make with Bureaus 
  • What kind of Speakers Bureaus to avoid and why
  • How to create the ‘Bureau Friendly’ materials all Bureaus want
  • How to be irresistible to Speakers Bureaus
  • How to work with a dozen Bureaus so you get leads steaming in 



BONUS Skill: Get A Standing Ovation Every Time

how to get a standing ovation Yes, I have received 27 standing ovations in a single week.

When you work at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, you are required to give 3 presentations a night, 7 nights a week. That’s 27 presentations in a week. 

I created a customized magical presentation designed to get a standing ovation. And it did, every single time. 

Early on in my speaking career, I discovered a formula for getting a standing ovation every time. 

I have taught this to a few speakers and they regularly email me telling me they got yet another “Standing O”. 

Learning how to get a standing ovation is one of the most rewarding things you will ever learn when it comes to discovering how to become a motivational speaker. There is really nothing quite like it. People will flock to you when your talk is over. And they will remember you and your speech for YEARS afterward. 

This skill requires that you first: 

  1. Have designed a speech
  2. Have delivered that speech several times and received a good response  
  3. Are ready to re-structure your speech so it gets a standing ovation every time
  4. Are willing to design an entirely new speech to get a standing ovation if you have to

Once you start getting a standing ovation every time you speak, your reputation will skyrocket. Your bookings will increase substantially, and you’ll love being a motivational speaker more than ever. 

  • The precise formula for a motivational speech that gets a “Standing O”
  • The set of crescendo factors that make for a standing ovation 
  • How to design your new standing ovation speech step by step
  • Review of any video you have of your current speech
  • How to tweak your current speech so it gets a standing ovation 
  • Special ways to rehearse your standing ovation speech
  • How to keep your ego in check – seriously, you’re going to need to 




How To Pick The Right Topics To Speak About

how to become a motivational speakerOne of the things new speakers struggle with is choosing their topics. 

The general rule of thumb is to choose 3 topics that you are passionate about, then check to see if there is demand for speakers in any of those topic areas. If there isn’t you may still be able to work your passion into one of the main categories that clients are willing to pay for. 

Having more than 5 topics is not advisable. It can make the speaker look like a jack of all trades. Most all top speakers specialize in 2 or 3 core areas. 

It is important to realize that not all topics are created equal. In other words, some topics have much higher demand than others. Speakers who present on these popular topics obviously have more opportunities to speak and make money. These popular topics change from time to time so it’s not feasible for me to make a definitive list of them. Generally, these topics are all in top demand year after year: 

  • Motivation 
  • Leadership
  • Safety
  • Sales 

However, there are many other topics that get plenty of demand. 


How Much Do Professional Motivational Speakers Make? 

There are basically 3 price ranges for professional speakers. These prices are for a single presentation lasting about one hour. 

Price Range 1: $2500 To $5000 
The starting price for a professional speaker is around $2500 per speech.  My Speakers Bureau never books any speaker who does not charge at least $2500. You can certainly charge less than that when you’re just starting out and build your way up to charging $2500. Just remember that in the industry of professional public speaking $2500 is the MINIMUM for a pro. 

Price Range 2: $5,000 To $10,000 
This is the range that most professional speakers work at. Companies can hire speakers from most parts of the United States when they have this kind of budget. This is ‘national level’ speaker talent.
Keynote speakers for conferences and events are often booked in the higher end of this price range.  

Price Range 3: Over $10,000  
This price range is for the best of class. It includes

  • Celebrities
  • Athletes and major sports figures
  • Top-selling authors
  • Industry experts who are top names in their fields


What About The Speaker’s Travel And Expenses? 

how to become a motivational speakerIt is a standard practice in the speaking industry that travel and expenses are added on top of the speaker’s fee. This is negotiable of course. 

So it is common for a professional speaker to quote a set fee like $5,000 plus travel expenses to be paid by the client. 

Travel expenses include things like round trip airfare, hotel for one person, and any other reasonable miscellaneous travel or related expenses like taxis etc. 

Some speakers will simply add a flat fee for all travel to their regular speaking fee. Some top speakers will add as much as $2,000 or more to their fee as they insist on flying first class.  



4 Ways To Make More Money As A Motivational Speaker

Here are some of the ways you can make more money as a speaker: 

Pick the highest paying and most in-demand topics.

Write a book – > instantly your speaking rate goes to $5000 a speech or more.

Create a unique model or system that you are known for and is proprietary. 

Create additional services of value and learn how to upsell those value bundles & packages when negotiating your fees with prospective clients.

And finally, remember that this is a high-paying profession. It can pay you very well. Like any other career, it requires that you be focused and put in the extra effort upfront to get up and running, This is true of every genuine profession. So if you really want to know how to become a motivational speaker, a successful one, use these core drivers that will get you there: 

  • Make the decision to go for it.
  • Make the time – take some things off your plate so you can focus on this
  • Get some coaching
  • Focus on this for the next 6 months.
  • Work with your coach. Build your essential marketing tools and foundation. 
  • Then get out there and speak a lot. Speak for FREE if you have to. Be seen. 
  • Hang in there and stay the course. It will reward you for many years into the future  

That’s it. I hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions about the coaching sessions or are interested in acquiring the skills described in this post, please feel free to request a complimentary phone consultation with me ->  Request A Complimentary Phone Consultation.  






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Your Instructor

How to become a motivational speakerAlexander Van Buren

Alexander is the founder and president of The Alexander Speakers Bureau, a National Speakers Bureau specializing in providing the best speakers, trainers, and sports figures for event planners.

He’s been a professional award-winning presenter for more than 30 years and has received as many as 27 standing ovations in a single week. He’s presented on the cruise ships of the Caribbean, at colleges, high schools, corporations, Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle, conventions, and for audiences on television, radio, and the internet.

Alexander has been a featured presenter for the Stanford Executive Program Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Van Buren knows inside information on what it really takes to be a successful public speaker and motivational speaker. He’s seen thousands of speaker’s videos, 1-sheets, and websites and knows what the best and most successful speakers do.

The Alexander Speakers Bureau has regularly received more than 100 requests per month for speakers from clients like Toshiba, Arrow Electronics, The Army Corps of Engineers, Microsoft, Paramount Home Entertainment, Humana, and many more.

Alexander offers special coaching packages to help speakers and trainers get started, and to become successful at sharing their wisdom, message, vision, and gifts with the world.

The 12 Skills
1. Choose your topics and position
2. Make your marketing materials.
3. Design your signature speech
4. Close over the phone
5. Find free speaking opportunities
6. Make your demo video
7. Create your website
8. Acquire the traits of top speakers
9. How to raise your speaking fee
10. Get opportunities to speak
11. Leverage out of the marketing
12. Work with speakers bureaus

The 10 Keys

1. Choose the right topics
2. Create a good 1 sheet & Bio
3. Create a very good 1-hour speech
4. Create a special kind of website
5. Write your topic descriptions
6. Create a great demo video
7. Draft your price list & bundles
8. Learn how to generate leads
9. Learn how to close bookings
10. Know how to approach and work with speakers bureaus

how to become a motivational speaker“Alexander has been a huge help in getting me started the right way. His techniques have already got me significant bookings that have far exceeded my goals.  I purchased his coaching package three times in a row because it paid for itself every time I did it.

Steve Sax
World Champion Baseball Player & Motivational Speaker



how to become a motivational speaker“Alexander’s coaching has been a measurable benefit to me from our very first call. His information is timely, relevant, and in manageable steps that can be implemented to increase your business immediately.”
Kenny Chapman



how to become a motivational speaker

“Alexander Van Buren gave me a terrific “secret” that only a speaker/bureau insider could know. He’s savvy, easy to work with, and enjoys helping others help themselves. That winning combination can only help YOU!”
Vicki Hitzges
Motivational Speaker


how to become a motivational speaker

“Alexander, I spoke to a group of over 200 people and I truly believe your help with my introduction and closing language was a big part in my being able to bring in over $50,000 in my 45-minute presentation.”
Scott Letourneau
CEO & Business Owner


how to become a motivational speaker

“I have had the pleasure of having Alex Van Buren as my coach for six months. In that time frame, I have made great strides with the goals that were set for business and pleasure. As a person in sales, my self-confidence has increased tremendously. I also find my ability to effectively speak with clients and prospective clients much simpler and with greater efficiency.

A personal habit that I thought was going to be extremely difficult has been overcome. This change has helped my health tremendously. Alex has made a huge difference in this short time frame, I look forward to accomplishing the rest of my goals very soon.”
Theresa Riddell



“When I first met you I was $17,000 in the red. Within a few years of working with you and your strategies, I am having my first 7 figure year.”

Your coaching has been incredibly valuable.
Dan J.



“If you’re looking for a teacher, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one than Alexander Van Buren. Great teachers are very rare, and Alexander is one of them! I have been working with him for a year now, and I have been able to change completely. Today, I am much more who I want to be, and can do more than I have ever been able to achieve before.

You can achieve whatever you want to achieve with Alexander.”
Susan Brown

“I made $40,000 in the first month from one of the up-sell techniques you taught me. And I’ve added a quarter of a million dollars to my yearly income.

That’s why I’ve come back for more coaching with you!
Dr. Chris Pellow
Pellow Family Chiropractic 

“Our group is from all over the world and together we produce a billion dollars a year in revenue for Viacom. You did an amazing problem-solving session on a really tough issue.”
Paramount Home Entertainment


“Toshiba is the world’s 17th largest corporation…thank you for helping to ensure a highly successful national sales meeting.
The combination of unique intrigue, pure entertainment, and meaningful insights into one another, helped us achieve a level of professional bonding like never before.”
David Ujita
Director of Marketing Communications, Toshiba America

“Get ready to present. Alex understands what it takes to prepare emerging speakers to ‘hit the stage and the road.’  He walks you through a very deliberate process of speaker preparation, self-management, marketing efforts, and customer outreach. If you’re ready, willing and able, Alex is there to help.”
Joe Lieberman

“An outstanding training for our managers. They got lots of great ideas they can use.”
Arrow Technologies


“This was one of the best pieces of training we’ve ever had on time management. They were blown away.”
Safelite Auto Glass



“The communication session was . . . WOW!”
CW – TV, Sinclair Broadcasting Corp. 


“In the three sessions. . . I was impressed with your knowledge and coaching in time management. Your honest feedback and detailed explanations on being the best that I can be (my work place, personal life and diet) has had an immediate and positive impact.

I changed my diet, and exercise which I never did before, and I can see the results in my daily routine and my energy level. I highly recommend you to anyone who wants to improve their professional or personal life.

Thanks again for teaching me to be a better manager, husband, father, and friend.”
Shawn Funches, Food & Beverage Activities Manager, Marriott’s Grand Chateau



“The participants were really impressed.”
Sharon F. Reiser, The Stanford Executive Program Graduate School of Business