When you feel down, lost, or disenchanted, an effective motivational speaker can help give you a brighter perspective and even set your life on a new course. This isn’t new news or a grand revelation. It’s what a motivational speaker is supposed to do. Now here’s a thought that may be new: have you ever considered being a motivational speaker yourself?
There’s no question that motivational speaking can be quite a fulfilling job. Just think of the people who discover how to capitalize on their skills, maximize their resources or even start a whole new chapter in their lives, simply through the power of your words! On a more materialistic level, there are some attractive perks, too – such as invitations to travel, and handsome professional fees. Interesting? Think it would be worth a try?
Before you answer, let’s analyze what it would take to become such a speaker. It’s a pretty simple analysis – there are only two key elements and steps to take.
Step 1: Explore your passion
“Not all experts are effective motivational speakers, but all effective motivational speakers are experts.”
If you google “motivational speakers,” you’ll get a list of reputable individuals in the field. Let’s get to know three of them:
1. Stephen Covey – Aside from writing the bestsellers, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The Leader in Me,” Stephen Covey taught at the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, and the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. He co-founded Franklin Covey, a firm that offers training and productivity tools to organizations and individuals world-wide. Mr. Covey was named one of the 25 most influential Americans of 1996 by Time
2. Nick Vujicic – A native of Australia, Mr. Vujicic was born without legs or arms – a disorder known as tetra-amelia syndrome. Not surprisingly, his condition made his early years difficult, both physically and emotionally. But he learned to overcome his depression lack of hope through an abiding faith in God. His disability didn’t prevent him from pursuing his hobbies, such as fishing, swimming, or painting, nor from building a career as an author, actor and musician. At the age of 19, Nick began speaking diverse range groups in different parts of the world, organized through his non-profit organization, Life without Limbs.
3. Magic Johnson – Mr. Johnson was a professional basketball player with the Los Angeles Lakers for 13 seasons. He was part of teams that won the NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal and an NBA championship. After his retirement from the game in 1996, he started the Magic Johnson Foundation to advocate the practice of safe sex and the prevention of HIV, a disease he contracted in 1991. He has helped dispel the stereotype that only homosexuals and drug addicts catch the virus.
The life stories of these motivational speakers illustrate one of the requirements for becoming a motivational speaker: do something you love. When these people first began working in the area of their passion, they never thought, “I’m going to be a motivational speaker one day.” But once they acquired rich and relevant experience and mastered their respective crafts, organizers began inviting them to share something unique, something fascinating, something audiences would never hear from any other speakers.
In other words, the first step to becoming a motivation speaker is to forget that you want to become one! Chase your passion instead. Everything else will follow. If you’re already living your passion, bravo! You’re half the way there.
Step 2: Build your credibility
Don’t just let the audience listen to you; convince them to believe in you.
Once you’ve attained mastery in your field, it’s time to create channels through which you can be heard. In our technologically advanced age, there are many ways to do this. Here are a few:
- Launch a blog. Provide readers new and fresh insights into your field. You will know they have acknowledged your know-how when they start sharing your posts with their networks.
- Create a social media community. Choose the platform that suits your field best. Use LinkedIn to connect with business professionals, Pinterest for interior design, etc. You know the drill.
- Write your book (or e-book). It will take up a fair bit of your time and resources, but publishing will considerably enhance your credibility.
- Improve your skills at storytelling, public speaking, and presentation design, even before you receive a speaking invitation. You will find these skills priceless in connecting with your audience.
- Give free talks. Of course, you need to make yourself known and show people what you’ve got to offer. You can’t expect organizations to pay you without recommendations from people who have seen you on stage.
Once you’ve established your expertise and credibility, motivational speaking invitations will begin to pop up. It might take some time before you reach this stage, so get to work on Step 1 above as soon as you possibly can. If you’re already doing that, great. Now double your efforts!