Have you ever dreamed of being the next Martin Luther King (minus the tragedy) or Tony Robbins? Would you love to travel the globe speaking to, and inspiring, millions of people with your message?
If you answered yes, then you have come to the right place.
Even though you have the goal and the dream of being a motivational speaker, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to accomplish. It takes a lot of effort and dedication. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But it can be done! There are plenty of people in the world who make a living as a motivational speaker. So, why not you?
Let’s take a look at how to become a motivational speaker and make your mark on this world.
1. Pick your topic
This might sound obvious, but you do need to know what you want to talk about. And it’s not always as easy as you think.
For example, I have a Ph.D. in communication, but I could talk about endless topics related to that topic. So you have to choose either what you’re an expert in, or at least what you are the most passionate about.
2. Know your main message
Now that you have your topic, how are you going to narrow it down?
For example, let’s say you are passionate about environmental issues. Well, that’s a pretty broad topic. What exactly about the environment do you think is most important? What do you most need to teach people?
3. Identify the end-goal for your audience
What do you want the audience to do or believe as a result of your speech? Do you want them to take some action to make their lives better? Do you want to change their belief or value system? How are the people in your audience going to be better people because they heard your speech?
4. Know your audience
Now that you know what you want your audience to do or think after your speech, who exactly are you speaking to? It really depends on your topic.
However, there are some topics that are relevant to every human being on the planet, while others are only pertinent to, say, only parents. Who do you want to speak to?
5. Make sure your message is relevant and timely to your audience
You want to teach your audience something new. You want it to be relevant to their lives and think that your message benefits them in some way. They will zone out and fall asleep if you teach them how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I’m exaggerating, of course. But you don’t want to tell them something they already know. You want to challenge them.
6. Hire a public speaking coach
You might be brand-new to public speaking. If so, you’re going to need some training.
You don’t want to be boring with your delivery. And you don’t want to confuse the audience with lack of organization.
You want to put on a good “show,” and in order to do that, you might have to take an extra step and hire a professional coach to help you hone your speaking skills.
7. Watch yourself on video tape
Obviously, no one is able to step outside their body and see what they look like to other people. That’s where video comes in.
If you want to improve your public speaking skills, you first have to know what you look like. Once you view yourself speaking on video, you’ll know what you need to improve upon.
8. Incorporate visual aids, props, or equipment where relevant.
People are visual, so it’s advisable to have some sort of visual aid or prop. It’s more difficult for people to follow along with your speech if they don’t have something else to look at other than you. Plus, visual aids help explain what you’re talking about and keeps the audience’s attention.
9. Find your audience
Who is your audience? Are you speaking to women? To children? To business owners? To disabled people? It is imperative that you narrow down your target audience.
Then, you need to find them. And then advertise to them, so they will be interested in seeing you speak.
As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” So start networking as much as you can.
Carry your business cards everywhere, and develop an “elevator speech” so that you can tell people exactly what you speak about. The more you spread the word about your speaking, the more people will get interested in you.
This article about How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life will help you.
11. Do free speaking gigs in the beginning
Let’s face it – Tony Robbins didn’t become “Tony Robbins” overnight. He was a nobody at some point in his life.
And if you’re not a “nobody,” then great! But if you are, don’t fret. You can become a “somebody,” but you might need to do speaking gigs for free at first. Once you gain a reputation, then people will want to pay you for your services.
12. Sign up for conventions that offer speakers
There are plenty of conventions that seek out speakers. So, try to find some that are relevant to your topic and apply to be a speaker.
Again, you may have to do it for free, but at least you’ll likely be speaking to your target audience.
13. Register with a speaker’s bureau.
There are many speaker’s bureaus that you can join. Just get on the internet and Google the ones closest to you.
Start locally, and then you can branch out to other geographical areas once you start gaining momentum.
14. Develop a marketing plan
You might be a great speaker, but are you good at marketing yourself? Maybe, but maybe not.
You can’t reach your goals – or your audience – if you don’t have a marketing plan. Make sure you include both short-term and long-term goals.
15. Hire a marketing or public relations expert to help you
If you don’t even know where to begin writing a marketing plan, or implementing it, then you might want to consider hiring professionals to do it for you.
Yes, it will cost money. But in the long run, it might be worth it to have someone in charge of marketing who knows what they’re doing.
16. Ask for feedback
Once you do start your speaking career, ask the audience for feedback. Asking for feedback will help you learn and improve twice as fast.
You can construct your own evaluation form to distribute after the speech. Hopefully the audience will be honest and give you constructive feedback. But don’t make it too long, because they might not finish it if it is.
17. Use social media
These days, marketing via social media is a must for any business or individual. You can get the word out via your own personal accounts, and you can also set up accounts to use professionally.
Facebook has fan pages, and you can easily create it and then invite your friends to follow you.
18. Develop a website
Just as with social media, every business needs a website. It’s just mandatory in this day and age.
Choosing a domain name with your own name (or some variation of it like “janesmithspeaker.com”) is the best idea. You can create your own for free or hire a professional to make it for you.
The bottom line
Becoming a motivational speaker takes a lot of effort, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But it is a great way to earn a living or simply just to earn a few extra bucks.
And the most important part of it is that you will be helping many people who need to hear your message. What better way to leave your mark on this word?