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How to Become a Motivational Speaker


People who have unique life stories or philosophies to share can work as motivational speakers. They may specialize in speaking to children, teenagers, college students, or professionals in an industry. Speakers can also specialize in a certain topic, like dealing with drug abuse, building self esteem, resolving conflicts, or improving communication or productivity. Some specialize in a specific field, like marketing, management, sports, or sales.

Motivational speakers are paid to travel to different locations and make their presentation to groups of people. They often tailor their presentation to fit the specific needs of their audience and their client. In addition to strong speaking skills, motivational speakers must have strong marketing and business skills in order to make a living from their work.

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What kind of training is required to become a motivational speaker?

Motivational speakers don’t have to complete a specific degree or training program to prepare for their careers, but they must have a unique perspective to share and a talent for communicating and engaging with an audience. Successful speakers recommend starting out by developing your unique idea or passion. Determine what expertise, experiences, and perspectives you can share, and what type of audience can benefit the most from it. While you may have expertise and experience to share on a specific topic, you may still need to do some independent research or talk with other experts to build a stronger base of knowledge in your field.

Motivational speakers should be able to fill a lengthy presentation with original, compelling ideas, and it can take some time to write a speech that will attract clients. You can improve your writing skills by completing a creative writing course or by joining a creative writing workshop in your area. Creative writing courses and workshops can help you enhance your writing and gain valuable feedback on your work.

A compelling speech should be matched with equally compelling speaking and presentation skills. Motivational speakers can take classes in public speaking, or they can join groups like Toastmasters. Working with a Toastmasters group can help you craft speeches, improve your speaking voice, and work on your physical presence, including the movements and gestures you make while speaking.

Are there any certification or licensure requirements?

There are no state licensure requirements for motivational speakers, but there are some voluntary certifications one can earn. The National Speakers Association offers the Certified Speaking Professional designation to speakers who meet standards for experience and earnings and can provide client recommendations. The National Speakers Association also evaluates recordings of CSP candidates’ presentations to determine their eligibility for the designation.

How long does it take to become a motivational speaker?

While there are no training programs one must complete before entering this profession, it can take years for motivational speakers to develop their presentations and attract the attention of potential paying clients.

What does a motivational speaker earn?

The most in-demand speakers can earn tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per appearance, but in most cases, these speakers were well-known for other reasons before entering the field of public speaking. Highly-paid speakers may be bestselling authors, executives of large corporations, politicians, actors, or athletes, for example.

Motivational speakers who are not celebrities often earn less for their appearances. Speakers who are just starting out may speak for free to build a following, but more experienced speakers may charge a few thousand to 10 or 20 thousand dollars per appearance.

What are the job prospects?

Motivational speakers are often hired to speak at businesses, conferences, and schools, so the number of opportunities available and the compensation for those opportunities can depend on the current market and the budgets of the organizers. With the economy improving, prospects for motivational speakers should improve.

New speakers can have difficulty breaking into the field, because earning speaking engagements often depends on the reputation and audience you’ve built. The rise of social media can help new speakers build a name, however, as each social media platform, such as blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, presents an opportunity to attract an audience.

What are the long term career prospects for motivational speakers?

Motivational speakers who build a strong reputation can command higher fees for their speaking engagements and land speaking spots at more prestigious conferences and events.

Many motivational speakers start out managing the business side of their career on their own, handling tasks like marketing, booking, writing contracts, and collecting payment. As they start to find success, speakers may hire an agent or publicist to handle some of these responsibilities for them. Other successful speakers sign with speakers bureaus. Event organizers often work with speakers bureaus to find speakers for a conference or other occasion, and the speakers bureau will connect them with a client who is a good fit.

How can I find a job as a motivational speaker?

If you are just starting out as a motivational speaker, you will need to do a great deal of marketing work to make yourself known to potential clients. Starting a blog or website and establishing a presence on social media are good ways to start connecting with your community. Hiring a professional to make sure your website appears high in search engine results can be helpful as well.

You may consider offering your presentation for free to a number of clients to gain experience and start building your reputation. Once you have polished your presentation, experienced speakers recommend having a professional recording made of one of these presentations. You can then give this recording to potential clients to show them what you can do.

How can I learn more about becoming a motivational speaker?

Many motivational speakers maintain websites to showcase their talents and talk about their career. Some have written books or blogs offering advice to those who are interested in the profession. These websites and books can be good resources for you as you begin thinking about becoming a motivational speaker. You may also be able to reach out to these speakers on social media or through email.

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