How to become a motivational speaker

The ability to change lives with your words is powerful and rewarding. Very few of us come out of the womb as eloquent speakers but everyone can learn how to become a motivational speaker.

It takes motivation and resilience to make an impact. Anybody can become an effective speaker in a fairly short amount of time as long as they have a tested process and guidance from the right mentor.

If you are new to public speaking or you are looking to brush up on your skills, check out these tips to craft and strengthen your message and give a great speech. 

How to Become an Inspirational Speaker in 7 Simple Steps

Just like you’ve worked hard to get where you are at now, every great communicator has taken years to get where they’re at. They’ve taken some detours, made some mistakes, and learned some invaluable lessons.

While motivational speaker training is too vast of a subject to tackle in a few minutes, these tips can help you get a jump start on your public speaking skills and pump up your motivation for public speaking

1. Define Your Area of Expertise

What do you have to offer? What do you know best? Is there any unique insight or a productivity hack you can share with your audience? Giving someone this kind of insight can be incredibly helpful. Think about what you are good at. What are you passionate about? 

While it’s best to speak about something you know, such as a craft you’ve practiced for years or a difficult challenge you overcame — speaking is not always about sharing expertise.  

You don’t have to be a master at a skill or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Everyone has an important message to share, and everyone has life skills that allow them to help someone else. 

2. What is your Message?

The meat and potatoes of your message is how you deliver it. Whether it’s your purpose to entertain, educate or motivate, you should know exactly how you want to drive home your point.  

It’s not about you, it’s about them. The message is all about the audience. The audience needs to know:

  • What are you talking about?
  • How does it benefit them?

What do you want your audience to take with them? This should be a simple sentence. For example, I want my audience to understand the importance of safety on the job site. If there’s a story, joke, or anecdote that takes away from the point, leave it out. 

3. Identify your Audience

There’s an old adage: if you’re trying to speak to everyone, you end up speaking to no one. Not everyone is going to listen to you, no matter what you do. 

It’s best to focus on the ones who will: your audience.

At times, creating a dialogue with your audience can take some effort, but it’s well worth it.  Effective speakers understand how powerful empathy is. It’s your job as a speaker to tailor your message to your audience in a way that they understand. 

Marketers call this identifying your target audience. Your ideal audience members. Start with the broad demographics and narrow it down as you learn more. Put yourself in their shoes. 

  • Who are they? How old are they? What gender are they? Nationality?
  • What do they know about the topic? What do they know about you? 
  • What are their needs? What are their beliefs? What do they care about? What challenges do they face?
  • Why have you chosen to speak there? What is your motivation for public speaking

4. Keep the Topic Relevant

Why should the audience care? Your words will go in one ear and out the other if it’s irrelevant to them. You don’t have to create a life-changing epiphany for your audience, but you do want to create a positive experience. Something relevant at the moment will generate the most interest.

One universal trait among any audience is that they listen to people to be happy. What problem can you help them solve to achieve their goals?  If you give a 45-minute speech on something that’s taken you several years to achieve, you’ve just given them a huge shortcut. 

5. Choose Your Platform

It’s best to start with one out at small venues and work your way up if you are a novice. There are plenty of online platforms to practice your speaking and get some feedback as well. Some popular platforms include: 

Youtube. The #2 most popular search engine behind Google. People often combine it with Patreon or sponsorships. 

Instagram. Stories, Reels, and Feed are a great way to connect and interact with your audience. 

Podcasts. Running a podcast can help you forge an intimate connection with fans. It’s a convenient way for people to listen while they are on the go. 

For practice in a live setting, you can join groups specifically made to help you learn how to become an inspirational speaker. Organizations like toastmasters give people a place to practice their speaking skills and get feedback from colleagues.  

6. Learn to Write and Edit

Verbal skills have to do with speaking, reading, and writing. You can increase your word power by improving your writing. Writing can help you choose your words wisely, express yourself eloquently, and enhance your overall verbal skills. 

Reviewing and rewriting your speeches can help you refine your performance and organize your ideas efficiently. Solving word puzzles, making puns, and other games that involve wordplay can help you increase your vocabulary and gain verbal dexterity. 

Even if you don’t write your speeches down word for word, you can obtain transcripts of video footage to analyze the content. 

7. Learn to Incorporate Feedback

Most of us don’t like feedback.  No one wants to hear about their mistakes. Perhaps your energy was too high. Perhaps you were long winded.

Somehow if we don’t pay attention, we think it’s not there. Yet, there’s nothing better for motivational speaker training than feedback. And feedback can be fun! Paying attention to our mistakes is the only way to learn from them. When you understand feedback and apply it regularly, you can enjoy the process and use it to grow. 

This builds resilience and eliminates anxiety. It will also help increase your confidence and motivation for public speaking. Feedback can also help you make important connections with Influential people who are happy to share their wisdom to help you improve. 

Tips to Sharpen Your Public Speaking Skills

There’s no substitute for experience and guidance from a successful motivational speaker training instructor. But, here are 3 things you can do to improve your skills exponentially. 

1. Become a Certified Motivational Speaker Through Our Motivational Speaker Classes

Whether you want to become a certified motivational speaker or a motivational coach; our speaker training classes will help. If you are ready to take the next step and get on stage, our Get TED Ready Masterclass can get you where you need to be to give a great speech. 

Our motivational speaking masterclass is tailored to help you learn the art of public speaking, enhance your communication skills, and practice what you’ve learned in a high-stakes live setting. 

Along with in-person motivational coach training, lifetime access to resources, and one-on-one sessions with Adam Markel, our motivational speaker training services provide you with an active community to share your progress and compare notes with. 

The curriculum and live sessions are part of an extended motivational speaking coach certification program designed to give you all the tools to succeed on stage. 

Our motivational coach training classes will help you:

  • Get you in front of a live and virtual audience
  • Overcome anxiety 
  • Build confidence and develop charisma
  • Establish yourself as a thought leader
  • Get support from a community of your peers
  • Build a portfolio, including a professionally produced video of your TEDx style speech 

Those are just a few of the benefits of our motivational speaker training classes. Sign up today to save your seat and jumpstart your journey as a motivational speaker. 

2. Record Yourself Speaking

When it comes down to feedback, it’s ultimately up to you to apply it. Self-critique is important because you know what works and what doesn’t. After the initial discomfort, you can learn from your mistakes and come back stronger. 

When you review footage of your motivational speaking classes try to put yourself in the audience. Were you convincing? Did you motivate yourself? 

The dynamics of public speaking are much different than that of speaking in small groups. Many first-time speakers feel unnatural standing alone with all attention on them and are worried over-rehearsing could end up coming off as stilted and insincere.

The funny thing is, the opposite is true, the more you rehearse a speech, the more natural you come off. Just like every other speaker, it’s about learning to communicate on different levels and letting your true personality shine through. It’s not about being someone else, it’s about empathy and communicating in a way that people can relate to.  

3. Speak Often and Everywhere

When you complete your motivational coach training certification, it’s time to refine your public speaking skills and get some stage time. 

As Adam Markel observes, facts and logic are less important than we tend to think. Charts usually don’t get standing ovations. Emotions are what move people. Your charisma, body language, the way you modulate your voice, your facial expression, and your energy are all far more important than the content itself. 

Once your motivational speaker training classes are complete, you can stay sharp by staying active. Here are some tips:

  • Take control of the stage. If you have room, occupy the stage and walk around. If you are stuck in one spot, the audience may have a hard time following you. Take the opportunity to engage with people on different sides of the room. 
  • Engage with the audience. Ask rhetorical questions, encourage participation, gauge the emotional temperature of the room and match your energy to that. 
  • Many speakers script their gestures. Such as when to take a sip of water or when to pause for dramatic effect. 

Bonus Tip on How to Become an Inspirational Speaker

Love your life no matter what!

One of the most important ways to build resilience is to love your life. When you can relax and have fun with the process, real transformation begins and your skills will grow exponentially.  

How to Promote Yourself as a Motivational Speaker to The Next Level

The way you present yourself to the public can make a big difference in the kind of gigs you land. Your brand is an important aspect of your business as a public speaker.  

Promote yourself positively by highlighting your capabilities and showing the value you can bring to an organization. Effective self-promotion is all about promoting yourself as capable, skilled, accomplished. 

There are many ways to self-promote online and offline. If you don’t have any experience yet, learn how to become a certified motivational speaker from a trusted expert or training center. If not, you can find motivational coach training online or near you. 

Start With Local Events and Talk For Free

As a brand new speaker, you can get in front of a larger audience and gain some experience before you charge. One good way to find gigs is to actively build brand awareness and gain some traction. If you stick with it, you will eventually polish your skills and get a steady flow of bookings. 

Do at least 3 to 5 free events to get your feet wet and build your motivation for public speaking. Remember, small unpaid speaking engagement is good for beginners because you are creating new opportunities for the future. When you start small, winning people over one by one, you eventually cause a butterfly effect as your message spreads to a wider audience. 

However, know when to say no and when to say yes. Make sure it’s worth investing your time in. After all, you are sharing information that gives people an opportunity to improve themselves or society. 

Yes, you want to share your insight, skills, and wisdom but eventually, you will want to be compensated according to the value your speech has to others. Offering too many free events can devalue your perceived worth.  

Attending Networking Events

Networking is a contact sport and connecting with people is a good way to quickly make connections and build an audience. There are hallmark events for every industry, find a few and attend. Always follow up with people who you spoke with, these days people are only a message or comment away. 

Aside from meeting like-minded people from all walks of life who work in all types of industries, public speaking offers amazing travel opportunities. Public orators have the chance to travel around the world to attend events to share their stories and learn how to become better speakers.

Create a Professional Online Presence

Another key part of learning how to become a motivational coach is awareness. Online profiles on major platforms and a website makes it easier for your audience to find you. 

Having a website can give you more credibility and social media channels are great for outreach and marketing. Be active on your social media profiles, have a contact form and articles on your website, and add yourself to local listings. Try to dedicate regular time to publish content and connect with other people on social media. 

Create Advertising Materials

Advertising materials can be defined as anything you use to communicate with potential or existing clients online. All you need is a powerful marketing strategy that taps into the customer experience. 

Before you promote yourself, think of your speech as a product and your audience as clients. This all starts with your objectives. What are your sales objectives and brand objectives? Create awareness? Book three gigs? 

It helps to gather both qualitative and quantitative data on your audience to get an idea of who they are and what you have to offer them. 

Most companies use a brief that outlines the content creation throughout the ad cycle. This includes measurements, content creation, intended audience data, and KPIs (key performance indicators). 

Examples of common advertising assets: 

Ad platforms like Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram Ads can help you find your audience. It’s not a magic pill but online ads can give you a great return on your investment if you reach the right people. 

FAQ for Becoming a Motivational Speaker 

Learning how to become a motivational coach or an inspirational speaker isn’t exactly straightforward. There’s no proven formula to follow for new speakers. 

What’s the job market like for motivational speakers? How do they get paid? Can I get regular work as a freelancer? Below are the answers to these questions and more. 

What are the Job Prospects?

A talented motivational speaker can move people to inspire people to make game-changing decisions. There will always be a need for this kind of inspiration. 

There are as many motivational speaker jobs as there are topics to discuss. Most motivational speaker training classes will recommend that you stay focused on one subject at first.  

As a new speaker, you will have to determine what to charge. A good starting point is to consider how much people currently charge for your time or expertise. 

Early on, expect to make near what you already make or less. After you’ve done a handful of events, you’ll be ready to start charging.

The venues you speak at will depend on where your audience is. Many speakers who are just starting out can find steady work at business conferences, schools, community centers, and other local events. 

What are the Long Term Career Prospects?

Public speaking has risen in popularity in recent years and new channels like podcasts are bringing orality back in a major way. In just a few years, you can become a bonafide full-time keynote speaker. As your reputation and credibility grow, so does your revenue stream. 

The ceiling for a motivational speaker’s salary is high, but it can be hard to break into the market because it takes time to build a reputation and an audience. 

If you get access to a large venue such as an industry trade show, performing there can boost your reputation and allow you to raise your speaking fees. Don’t discount smaller or even free events though as the right opportunities could provide you valuable access to the connections you need to advance your speaking business.

How to Get Paid as a Motivational Speaker?

Some public speakers receive a monthly wage from an agency or company that provides motivational speaking services. More often than not, people will begin their career as a freelancer. We’ve all had that aha moment when things click and the solution to a problem becomes clear. 

Although it’s hard to put a price on that, that’s what you’re selling. That positive feeling. If you are invited to speak at an event, it’s because you have something valuable to offer. Consider the following are pricing your speeches, consider:

Time: how long did it take you to learn this knowledge? It may only take an hour to present, but it could represent an entire career’s worth of insight. Don’t undervalue how much time it took you.  

Price: if you’ve passed on information that makes a life-changing impact, gives them a way to make extra money, consider what percentage of that perceived value you deserve. 

Start Your Journey to Become a Certified Motivational Speaker Today!

Adam Markel is the author of the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller, PIVOT: The Art and Science of Reinventing Your Career and Life, host of The Conscious PIVOT Podcast, a business consultant, transformational leader, resilient and leadership keynote speaker with a wealth of experience speaking on the global stage. Known as the resilience guy, Adam has helped thousands of people improve their talking game. 

Our motivational speaking classes can help you build the confidence and skills you need to own the stage. Discover time-tested ways to increase your technical skills and express your emotions in an honest, impactful way that really hits home with your audience.  

Book a discovery call to find out if the masterclass is right for you!