How To Become A Motivational Speaker (With Necessary Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 29 August 2022

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Motivational speakers are professionals who deliver motivating speeches that encourage people to take action. It can be a fulfilling career, as motivational speakers inspire people and help them improve their lives. If you are passionate about helping people, understanding the career path to becoming a motivational speaker can help you make the right career choices. In this article, we discuss how to become a motivational speaker and explore the skills necessary to become one.

Related: How To Prepare An Audience-Centred Speech (With Tips)

How To Become A Motivational Speaker?

If you are wondering how to become a motivational speaker, these steps can guide you:

1. Define your area of expertise

Identifying your area of expertise is the first step towards becoming a motivational speaker, as it determines what your speeches are about. If you are an expert in a particular subject, such as marketing or economics, you can become a motivational speaker in that area and guide students on the career path to follow. You can choose any area that interests you. Having a professional certification or achievements in your area of interest can help you establish your credibility as a motivational speaker.

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2. Identify your target audience

Once you identify your specialisation, it is easy to determine who your target audience is. While identifying your target audience, some questions that you can ask are, "Who can benefit the most from my speeches?", "What are the demographics of my target audience?" among others. Understand your target audience and the value your advice adds to their lives. Identify where your target audience is so that you can use the same channels to reach them. Do your research to find out what works best with your target audience.

3. Learn the art of public speaking

Motivational speakers address large groups of people and may speak at conferences, seminars or other public gatherings. This makes it crucial to develop your public speaking skills so that you appear confident, composed and prepared while delivering your speeches. The best way to do so is by joining a public speaking class, as you can practice with a group of people, receive feedback and also ask questions.

You can also watch videos available on the Internet and observe the way other motivational speakers conduct their speeches. You can also follow online coaches who teach public speaking on different social media channels. Some aspects to focus on are voice modulation, body language, speech delivery and engaging with the audience.

Related: Types Of Public Speaking Skills And How To Improve Them

4. Gain the skill of writing speeches

The next step is to develop the content of your speeches, as that is the value proposition for your followers. Practice writing speeches and present them to your friends or family. Try to gauge their reactions and also ask them for feedback. Divide your speech into an introduction, the main body and the conclusion. You can begin the speech with a quote, a question or with a token of gratitude for the organisers of the event. In the end, summarise the points of your speech and urge the audience to take action.

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5. Offer free speeches

In the initial days of your career as a motivational speaker, it can be a good idea to speak at a few free events. You can approach local schools, colleges and other events where your target audience may be present. This can help you build your credibility, gain some experience, polish your public speaking skills and let people know about your services. You may even receive paid speaking gigs through such events if the organisers or someone in the audience likes your speech.

6. Build an online and offline presence

Once you feel ready, you can start building your brand. This helps people recognise you, helps you get clients and presents opportunities to speak at events. Create social media profiles on the platforms where your target audience is likely to be present. You can share short videos of your speeches, share updates, inform your audience about your availability and network with them. Along with an online presence, it is equally important to create an offline presence by registering for offline speaking events, signing up for clubs and networking with other motivational speakers.

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7. Start applying for gigs

While you may start getting speaking opportunities through word-of-mouth, it is also a good idea to apply for gigs. You can use the Internet to search for events in your niche and apply to be a speaker there. You can also network with event organisers and agencies to get updates about such events. Social media is a great channel for finding information about events happening globally. To gain experience, get started with local events and then gradually approach national and international events. These days, speaking at virtual events can also be a good option.

Skills Necessary To Be A Motivational Speaker

Here are some skills that you can develop to do well as a motivational speaker:

Communication

As a motivational speaker, it is important to be able to communicate well, as most of the profession involves communicating your thoughts with people. Being able to communicate well ensures that you can convey your message to your audience easily. Along with communication, it is also important to be able to articulate your speeches well for maximum effectiveness. You can also work on developing your presentation skills, as it can be a helpful tool during your speeches.

Related: How To Improve Communication Skills

Persuasion and leadership

Motivational speakers urge the audience to take action. You can do this if you have leadership qualities and can explain to them the value behind doing something. It is the ability to persuade people to follow your words that distinguish successful motivational speakers from others. If your audience follows your advice and sees positive results in their lives, it helps build your credibility and reputation as a leader.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions And Examples

Confidence

One of the most important skills as a motivational speaker is to be confident. It helps you stay calm and focused so that you can organise your thoughts while speaking. Being confident shows the audience that you are prepared and you believe in what you are saying. One of the ways that you can appear more confident is by practising your speech a few times before the actual event. You can do this in front of the mirror or within a small test group. As you gain experience by speaking at several events, you may see your confidence levels rise.

Storytelling

Storytelling helps you engage your audience and immerse them in your speech. It helps create a lasting impression in their minds so that they can remember your speech and the key points for a long time. Use simple words while telling your story, so there is a flow of thoughts and imagination.

You can use some visual or musical aids to add effects to your speech. A good way of storytelling is sharing personal and real-life stories to give listeners a better understanding of what you want to convey. Building suspense through storytelling in your speech can also be great for keeping your audience engaged till the end.

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Empathy

Being empathetic helps motivational speakers relate to their audience and understand them better. It helps you move from a superficial level to genuine advice that the audience can relate to and implement in their lives. Empathy is a leadership quality that you can develop by assuming the position of the listener. Ask questions like "What may I want to know if I was in the audience?" and "What do I want to achieve by attending this session?" and prepare accordingly.

Humour

Sometimes introducing humour to your speeches can help you create a bond with the audience. It can be a good tool to break the tension while speaking on a difficult subject. It also engages the audience, increases their interest and helps them relate to your speech better.

Time management

Most often, public speaking events follow a time schedule and every speaker gets a slot for speaking. It is important to organise your thoughts and time beforehand so that you are able to complete your speech on time. Set a timer while you practice your speech, so you know the exact length of your speech and can trim or extend it accordingly. A good way to stay on track is to have flashcards with pointers from your speech written on them. Always leave some time at the end of every speech where the audience can ask you questions.

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