How to Become a Motivational Speaker
When you imagine motivational speakers, you might think of personal development gurus who teach people how to release and channel their inner strength or how to visualize their path to success. However, these lecturers can give speeches or give presentations on a wide variety of topics. What really matters is their passion for the subject matter. If you want to become an expert motivational speaker, all you need to do is learn how to build your speech, hone your ability to speak in front of an audience, and develop your speaking skills.
Part 1. Build a message and develop a niche
- Inform yourself. Listen, watch, and read other expert motivational speakers. Familiarize yourself with their work to see if any of them meet your expectations. Watch videos of other speakers or attend their presentations, then analyze the content of their talks and the way they deliver their speeches.
Watch TED (technology, entertainment, and design) talks or motivational speech videos, such as on YouTube.
Read articles, books, and blogs written by expert motivational speakers.
Look for motivational speaking podcasts
- Write down all your ideas. This will feed your thinking. Define the message you want to convey in your speeches. What topic do you want to address? Professional life, human relationships, spirituality, entrepreneurship, writing, marriage, parenthood, Buddhism, Christianity, etc. Ask yourself what your point of view is on the subject you have chosen and from what angle you wish to approach it.
Write down as many ideas as you can and add them to your notes as you go.
Tip: Write a journal of your ideas. You can enrich it over time. Always have it handy so you can add new items to it at any time.
- Find a niche to address your topic. This will depend mainly on your experience and your qualifications. So, you must think about what you can personally bring to this topic. How is your speech different from that of others? What experiences and what specific knowledge do you bring to the subject matter?
If you’ve started your home decorating business, you might want to encourage others to do the same.
Or, if you managed to publish a book in a short time, maybe you want to share your experience.
Part 2. Work on stage presence and content
- Take public speaking classes to develop your skills. Look near you if there is not a school, a training center or an association that offers this type of course. You can also try to join a public speaking group in your area. This will let you have the opportunity to improve and practice your public speaking skills. You may even be able to test out some speeches with this audience and ask their opinion.
You can also look for other opportunities to give a public speech. Offer to say a few words at the wedding of a member of your family or one of your friends, participate in “open mike” evenings at a comedy club or a bar. You could also host a live radio show or a weekly podcast
- Write interesting and easy-to-follow speeches. Your presentation must be well organized with an introduction, a development, and an end. This will make it easier for your audience. Design your speeches as stories and determine what will come first, second, third, etc. Whenever possible, try to start with something that grabs your attention, such as an interesting anecdote or a highlight.
If you want to talk about how you overcame a difficulty in your life, you must start by describing this obstacle. You can also put the situation in context.
Then talk about how the obstacle in question has affected you, talk about things that have changed for you, etc.
Conclude by explaining in detail how you overcame your problem.
- Proofread and edit your speech before delivering it. Once you have a well-constructed presentation, take the time to proofread it carefully and correct it. Rewrite any sections that are confusing, expand on any points that seem obscure, and feel free to delete any passages that don’t fit the rest.
Set aside enough time to read and correct your text before giving your speech for the first time. Read it over at least three times before giving your talk.
Tip: time yourself when you rehearse your speech to make sure it lasts a little less than your allotted time. For example, if you are only allowed thirty minutes, limit yourself to twenty minutes. This will ensure that you don’t talk too long.
Part 3. Know how to sell
- Create a website. Post information about yourself and your message. It is essential that you have a website that introduces you. It should also tell people about your message and how they can reach you. This site must be of good quality because it will allow the public to know you and give you work. Take the time to create it or hire an expert to do it for you. Then give the site address to your friends and acquaintances to advertise
- Write a blog, make videos, or publish a book. Disseminating your ideas to the public will allow you to establish your reputation and make yourself known as a corporate speaker. Try making a video or writing a book about the issue you are tackling in one of your talks. You can also discuss your different experiences. Create a personal blog dedicated to your speaking career and post several times a week.
If, for example, you want to give motivational speeches on how to start a business, you could write a how-to guide or series of blog posts on that topic.
If you want to motivate people to improve their relationships with others, you can make a series of videos answering common questions about human relationships. They may contain practical advice.
- Tell those around you that you are looking to give talks. Word-of-mouth is a great way to make yourself known as an inspirational speaker. Tell your friends, family, acquaintances, and co-workers that you are getting into this business. As soon as you meet new people, give them your business card, or contact information.
Networking events are a great way to make new contacts and spread information. Check to see if there are parties or events of this type planned in your area. Try to participate and meet people.
- Take the lead. Contact different organizations and offer to give a talk at their place. If there are associations that hire speakers near you, contact them to offer your services. Do some research to determine which organizations might fit the type of message you want to convey and focus your efforts on them.
For example, if you have overwhelmed your drug addiction and need to inspire others to do the same, try contacting hospitals or rehabilitation center near me.
If you have encountered difficulties in school due to a learning disability, but then found a way to overcome it and succeed in your life, you can contact colleges, high schools, or associations that help to dropout students.
- Be dynamic. Apply to speak at conferences, congresses, and other events. There are many protests actively seeking speakers to speak. Find events that suit you, then apply to be a keynote speaker.
The competition to take part in these events will certainly be tough and you may need to volunteer at first. However, it will help you make a name for yourself. So, you can get more solicitations to be a speaker later.
Tip: If you’re able to get the speaker scheduler’s contact information, contact them directly. Send him a three- or four-sentence text summarizing your keynote speech, then follow up a few days later if you haven’t heard back.
Part 4. Apply effective techniques
- Wear a nice dress or a nice suit. You need to look professional. It’s a great way to impress your audience early on and build credibility before you even start speaking! Choose an elegant suit or a nice dress to give your speech, do your hair carefully, wear make-up (for people who wear make-up), trim your beard (if you wear one), and choose shoes that go well with your outfit
- Try to stay in one place during your speech. Avoid fidgeting or pacing. You can move from time to time, but only for a specific purpose. Remember to stop talking when you change locations. When you arrive at your new place, get into position with your feet firmly planted on the ground in line with your shoulders and stand straight as you resume your speech.
While talking, avoid rocking back and forth. This gives the impression that you are insecure and can distract your audience.
- Engage in dialogue with your audience to keep their interest. Try speaking to the audience as if you were telling a story to a friend. If your speech contains passages that may be confusing or surprising, take a moment to explain them in words easily understood by the audience.
Don’t forget to compliment the audience on their accomplishments, qualities, or anything else you know about them.
- Make eye contact with only one person at a time. Look for a friendly-looking face in the audience and look that person in the eye for a few seconds. Then observe the audience again and stare at someone else. Continue like this throughout your conference to establish communication with all the listeners.
Avoid looking up, down, or away. This will give the impression that you are nervous, and your credibility will suffer.
- Give more weight to your words. From time to time, make gestures with your hands to support your words. But be careful with this technique, because if you constantly wave your hands during your speech, you may distract the audience. All it takes is an occasional gesture to underline certain passages in your lecture. Try raising one or both hands regularly to accompany your speech. The rest of the time, keep your hands relaxed along the body.
Don’t cross your arms, clasp your hands together, or put them in your pockets. These defensive postures will make you look nervous.
Avoid waving objects like a water bottle, your cell phone, or a microphone. These risks divert public attention.
If you need to hold a microphone, hold it in one hand. Do not swing it from side to side.
- If there is no microphone, project your voice on the last row. When you have to speak to a group without using a microphone, you have to speak louder to compensate. At first, you may feel like you’re screaming. But it’s better than not being heard by some audience members.
Take a deep breath using your diaphragm to allow you to project your voice from your belly, rather than your throat or chest.
- Watch videos of your interventions to improve yourself. Ask someone in your family or a friend to film you during your conference. Later, watch the movie and look for areas you can improve. Encourage those close to you to give you feedback. You can also seek the advice of a professor of public speaking.
For example, if you notice that you tend to clear your throat or say “um” during a speech, you should correct this behavior.
Tip: Recording your speeches on video will also help you find work. Indeed, potential employers may ask to see films of your speeches before deciding to accept your application.