Last updated on January 22nd, 2019 at 01:50 pm
If your big dream is to be a motivational speaker, and you’ve looked into public speaking by attending your first few Toastmasters meetings, you may have reached that critical moment when you aren’t sure if professional speaking is the right dream for you.
Because the sad the truth is that pretty much anyone can be a public speaker.
There is no degree required, no huge barrier to enter the speaker arena. You can order business cards with your name and POOF you’re a professional speaker simply because you say so. But simply saying that you are a motivational speaker doesn’t mean companies will pay you the big bucks to inspire their audience.
There’s a long list of motivational speakers who have spent years professionally training only to discover after several years of hard work that very few companies want to hear what they have to say. It’s relatively easy to call yourself a professional motivational speaker.
The real question is do you have it in you to do everything that you must do to be a great motivational speaker?
Here Are 10 Questions to Ask Yourself if Your Dream is to be a Motivational Speaker:
1. Are You Talented Enough to Be a Motivational Speaker?
While this seems to be the obvious question, it’s just the beginning. Yes, you need to be good at what you do, or at least as good as what you charge and what your clients expect. You can’t afford to be a bad speaker or even a mediocre speaker or you won’t find enough work to pay your bills. Your speech is your product and you can’t outsell a crappy product.
Eventually, poor speaking skills will catch up with you.
2. Do You Even Like the Job of Being a Public Speaker?
There are many jobs out there that people do without really enjoying it. Motivational speaking shouldn’t be one of them. In order to make your speaking career work, you must absolutely LOVE IT. You must love motivating others so much that you are willing to sweat through all of the tough times ahead of you.
Living the life of a paid speaker makes you an entrepreneur which requires you to handle more than just your hour spent inspiring others from a stage. Think about what else is involved in being a public speaker. Besides the running of the business, there’s the travel, airports, rental cars, hotels, restaurant food, living from a suitcase, being away from home, the selling of yourself and your business, and putting together a book or product your audience will want to buy.
If you think you can be a motivational speaker simply because the career looks easy to you, then you are wasting your time. It’s not.
3. Do You Like Networking With People?
Being a professional speaker requires so much more than delivering a talk for an hour to a group of strangers. You are “on” before you ever speak, after you have spoken, when you answer the phone, and when you send out email correspondence. There are too many speakers in this business who do not interact with the public. They breeze in and breeze out of a conference never stopping to engage personally with the crowd where they’ve just delivered their inspirational message.
The in-and-out speaker can obviously afford to lose potential contacts and connections. Newcomers can’t. Clients and audiences want to interact with their chosen speaker in the hallway and at receptions. It’s part of the experience a great motivational speaker should deliver.
Work on your networking skills.
4. Are You Willing To Treat Motivational Speaking Like A Business?
This isn’t a job that starts paying you on Monday. It takes time to grow the business and a lot of work to handle ALL aspects of a business from scheduling to contracts to taxes. Yes, you can pay someone to run your business, which means your enterprise must be able to support staff salaries.
But if you have no money saved, and no side money coming in, you’re going to find yourself in a tough spot financially. It takes time to build a profitable public speaking business that pays you like other successful, well-paying careers.
5. Do You Have Something Motivational To Say?
You are not a motivational speaker until you have a speech that motivates your audience. Period. Clients pay you to give thought-provoking speeches that will motivate their audience to attempt change. You may have a great life story, but that doesn’t mean you have something motivational to say.
You are not ready to be a motivational speaker until you have a speech that motivates at least some of your audience.
6. Do You Have Something Motivational People Want To Hear?
Clients pay you to teach their audience something motivational–to help them avoid a pain they are having, or help them get the pleasure they seek. They pay you according to the value they expect you to bring their audience.
7. Do You Have A Unique Perspective?
There are thousands of public speakers available who can speak about the same topic as you–shocking, I know. And most of them wear the same type of business suit as you. Your potential clients (thanks to internet search engines) have thousands of speaker choices to pick from. What will make you stand out above the thousands of available motivational speakers?
Your information will never be what sets you apart. What sets you apart is YOU–your unique perspective on how to motivate the world–the combination of your life experiences and what your background has taught you about inspiring others to be more ambitious.
8. Are You Entertaining?
Your speech is not just about what you offer to teach about motivation, it’s how you wrap your unique perspective into an experience that is enjoyable and memorable to the audience. If your client just wanted information, they can buy a book or look up motivational tips on the internet.
Your speech bookings are paying you as a motivational speaker to appear and deliver inspiration in a way that engages, entertains, and has an impact.
You can’t afford to be an uninteresting motivational speaker. If you want longevity in the public speaking arena and bigger stages with bigger clients, you’d better be entertaining every single moment you’re in front of an audience.
9. Do You Believe In Yourself?
Do you really believe in what you teach, your right to do it, and the motivational message you have to bring to your audience? Motivational speaking requires rock-solid confidence and an unwavering belief that you belong on a stage delivering what you know. When you feel it–when you own it–you command the audience.
Not believing in yourself will be the one thing that will affect every aspect of your public speaking career, and your ability to survive. It takes time, practice and experience to build confidence. Poise is something you must constantly work to exude. Just don’t go too far in the other direction. Nobody likes a diva.
10. Do You Get That What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know?
Just like all big dreams when you first begin, you don’t know what you don’t know. When you need your car fixed, you go to a mechanic. When you need complex taxes completed, you find an accountant. When you are ill, you go see a doctor. The same is true for a paid motivational speaking businesses. Do you want to be a successful motivational speaker? Then look for successful motivational speakers to emulate or to mentor you.
The top motivational speakers who are very successful can offer valuable information that you need. You must learn everything you can from the motivational speaking masters already living your big dream.
There isn’t a college degree that teaches how to be a successful motivational speaker. There are only the speakers who are champions at doing your dream right now. Find the best motivational speakers and coaches who can teach you what you don’t know.
Being a sought-after motivational speaker is a powerful, life-altering career choice. Use these tips to understand how to become a great motivational speaker and to help you build confidence in your ability to make your big dream a reality. You found this article–take it as a sign that you are meant to do this public speaking dream of yours. Now, take these ten tips to heart and go out there and make your dream materialize.
I believe in you.
Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, motivational speaker, Huffington Post Contributor, and cast member of The Fashion Hero television show airing on Amazon Prime. She is also the author of Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale, The Land of If Only, The Story Formula, and The Affirmation Journal for Positive Thinking. She was a featured entertainer for Holland America Cruise Lines, keynote speaker for the International Toastmasters Convention, and has keynoted major conferences and corporate events from coast to coast. She just launched her one-woman show Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale in theaters, and it is being booked all over the country. In July of 2022, she was inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame.
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