Business Entrepreneurship

How to Become a Motivational Speaker

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Maybe you’re an extrovert who’s always making new friends, or perhaps you discovered that you’re great at storytelling or giving workplace presentations. No matter the reason, if you want to know how to become a motivational speaker, there are several pathways you can take to achieve your goal.

It’s important to note that you may face challenges on the way, but your stories of overcoming those hardships can become powerful sources of motivation for others. Authenticity is one of the fundamental traits of any notable motivational speaker, and your audience will appreciate a candid story about how you rose above adversity.


The best part about motivational speaking is that anyone can do it, from former CEOs to servers, to stay-at-home parents, and countless others. As a motivational speaker, you’ll need good communication skills, both spoken and written, as well as professionalism and leadership skills.

You’ll also need to convey a positive attitude and exhibit a polished appearance, just like any successful businessman. Let’s take a look at what’s in store as you work to become a motivational speaker.

Motivational Speaker: What’s in a Name?

Whether you want to become a motivational speaker as a side gig or your new, full-time profession, the process is the same. Start by identifying what motivates you to succeed and go from there. Pinpoint the subjects you’d like to cover as a motivational speaker and start fleshing out speech ideas.

What is the driving force behind your desire to become a motivational speaker? Do you want to help others succeed? Meet prominent people and travel to exotic locations as part of your job? Earn a higher income? Determining your motives and goals is integral to the goal-setting process of your new business venture as a motivational speaker.

As well as serving as the foundation of your motivational speaking company, those goals and objectives can also become the first subjects you tackle at the podium.

Legal and Professional Considerations

As an independent motivational speaker, you may choose to operate under an LLC or as an independent contractor. Further, your tax obligations will be different from when you were employed by a company, and you may want to consider insuring your assets, including your speaking voice.

If the legal and financial considerations of becoming a motivational speaker aren’t something you want to spend a lot of time researching on your own, it may be a good idea to seek professional legal guidance.

Professional guidance may also be appropriate when it comes to writing your speeches. Even if you have strong writing skills, it’s a good idea to get a second set of eyes on your transcript to ensure that it flows properly and is an appropriate length. If you only have a 10-minute time slot, for example, you don’t want to be cut off abruptly because your speech is too long.

Find Your Audience

When you’re just starting out as a motivational speaker, you should build up your local reputation before branching out to national and/or international arenas. Research upcoming conferences, trade shows, and similar events in your area. Network with your friends and colleagues to find further speaking opportunities.

In order to expand your reach, start with a general subject, such as a speech on overcoming challenges or how to be a great leader. General speeches can be minimally altered to fit in a variety of niches, giving you a wider pool of conferences and events to choose from.

Depending on the industry, the role of a motivational speaker may fall under a variety of titles, including “conference speaker” and “business speaker.” You should keep those terms in mind during your search for the right audience.

Leading the Pack

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have identified four primary traits of great leaders: organization, professionalism, charisma, and a willingness to learn. These traits also serve as the foundation of a successful motivational speaker.

Organization is paramount since you don’t want to be shuffling papers around when you’re at the podium. Prior to your speech, make sure all your materials are easily accessible. If your presentation includes a visual aid, take a few minutes before your speech begins to ensure that everything is in place and that any necessary equipment is working properly.

As for professionalism and charisma, keeping a polished appearance goes a long way in getting an audience to trust you. Wear your best, sincere smile and dress appropriately for the subject and venue. Smiling is one of the easiest ways to earn the trust of a stranger, and it makes you appear more confident as well.

Finally, remain open and easygoing at all times. If an audience member challenges your ideas, be willing to learn from them. Who knows, maybe they’ll give you something to think about and incorporate into future speeches? Motivation is sometimes a two-way street.

Building Your Reputation as a Motivational Speaker

One way to build up an audience without even leaving your home is to utilize online channels. Consider starting a podcast or YouTube channel where you share motivational videos on a variety of subjects. You may also want to start a blog where you regularly share your motivational material, in the form of videos and/or blog posts, with visitors.

Creating motivational videos has professional benefits as well. Watching yourself on video allows you to pinpoint any soft skills that need improvement, from body language to subject matter and even clothing choice.

Plus, when it’s time to approach a conference or trade show representative, your podcast or channel can serve as a sort of resume. If the representative likes what they see, they may even ask you to give a particular speech at their event.

Final Thoughts

Being a motivational speaker is a rewarding career path for people of all walks of life. If you’re ready to take the plunge and enter the motivational speaking arena, you’ll need confidence, leadership skills, engaging subject matter, and a willingness to learn from others. The motivational speaking field is wide open, and individuals across the world are always looking for inspiration. Can you inspire them to succeed?

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