14 Steps to Become a Motivational Speaker

Do you dream of becoming a professional speaker? Do you want to motivate and inspire others with your messages? Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, explains steps you need to take to develop into a professional motivational speaker. 

Lisa B. Marshall
5-minute read
Episode #330

Perhaps one of the most common questions I get asked is this: "How do I become a professional motivational speaker?" Although It's a difficult question to answer in a short article, today I'm going to cover 14 steps to becoming a motivational speaker. (I've written about the first three steps previously, so I'll keep these brief.)

1. Ask for informational interviews with professionals speakers, both in your niche and out of it. You can learn a great deal from those that have already been down the same path, and I've found most professionals are happy to help others get started in the business.  

2. Volunteer to speak at local events as a host, a panel member, or if possible, a featured speaker. Any speaking experience will help you get comfortable and be seen. Who knows, you may even be so inspirational someone in the audience asks you to speak to their organization! 

3. Volunteer to become a speaker for a non-profit that you're passionate about. You'll learn how to be comfortable sharing your passion and that's critical—especially for motivational speakers.  

4. Join a Toastmasters club and begin speaking. Toastmasters can help you learn and practice the very basics of public speaking. It will give you a start and will also provide you a captured audience. You may even consider joining several Toastmaster meeting groups. The more speakers you interact with, the more skills and style you can gain.  You may even find a speaker coach/mentor to help you refine your speaking skills. Also, join the National Speaker's Association. Here's where you'll be able to find local people who are building careers as professional speakers. Also, you may find a business coach/mentor here.  

5. Submit ideas to conferences on topics to speak about. Many conferences look to experts to present ideas. Submit a proposal for a session or offer to work with someone else to create a joint session. Try to team up with someone that already has a following.  I sometimes get requests to speak that I can't accomodate and, whenever possible, I pass along these opportunities to someone that may be still developing his or her career.   

6. Create "evergreen" product content (audio/video/blog/courses/membership sites/books). This means content that is always relevant, and doesn’t go out of style or out of date. The idea is to answer the questions that your audience is most interested in. If you're already working in the field as a professional, think about the questions that you get asked most often. Every day at the end of your day, take ten minutes to record (either video or audio) the answer to a question you already answered during your day. If you aren't already an established professional, you can find the questions that are being asked by joining forums and reading blogs, or simply thinking about your own questions from when you started out in your field. For established professionals, the response shouldn't take much preparation because you've likely answered that question many times.  If you do this every day for a week, you'll have accumulated about an hour's worth of valuable content at the end of the week. If you are just starting out, it may take you longer to develop your responses, but the time invested helps you deepen your expertise.   


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.