How to Become a Motivational Speaker

Some people have the dream of becoming a professional speaker in order to inspire, while others would like to use public speaking to enhance their career, build their brand, or develop expert status.  The Public Speaker Lisa B. Marshall explains what you can do to enhance your career through speaking and presenting.

Lisa B. Marshall,
December 18, 2015
Episode #322

I recently received a request from a listener who wants to know how to become a professional speaker. I receive emails like this on a regular basis. Many people want to become professional speakers, or add professional speaking to their resume, but they don't really know how to get started. Understanding what it takes to be a speaker professionally can help you to advance your career. Here's the most recent email I received on this topic and the response I sent him:


I am Gopal from India, and I am a graduate student. I am really passionate about becoming a motivational speaker. I can always boost up my college friends, which makes me very happy. I really want to build my career in speaking. Your advice in your podcast has been so helpful to me and I hope you can give me some suggestions to start my journey. 

Best wishes, Gopal S.

Hi Gopal,

I applaud you for already understanding how important it is to incorporate public speaking as part of any career. If you want to reach a local, regional, national, and even eventually global audience with your message, you need to start by building your brand and becoming a leader in your niche. To that end, my first advice is to concentrate on learning about something you love, to concentrate on something that makes you curious.   

What I'm suggesting is that you don't focus on becoming a speaker as much as you focus on becoming an expert in something; that is to say, the first step to becoming a professional speaker is to gain expert-status credibility in a topic area. The best way to do that is to start by reading everything there is on your topic: read every book, read all the important blogs, read the academic research, interact with leaders in your chosen field, watch every YouTube video, go to live events, etc. It seems you have already started this step by reaching out to me. Podcasts and blogs are a great way to find virtual "mentors" because content creators often share their expertise freely to those who choose to listen.  

What I'm suggesting is that you don't focus on becoming a speaker as much as you focus on becoming an expert in something.

Start by Sharing Your Perspective

Then, as quickly as you can, start sharing your knowledge. That's right, start sharing what you've learned, but put your own twist on it.  While you want to learn as much as you can from the current experts, don't let this stop you from moving forward. It shouldn't take long to read enough that you're ahead of "most" people, and that's all you need to get started. That is, share what you learned but in your voice, from YOUR perspective. That is, share your unique story—why you are interested in this topic, along with your ideas. So the second big step is to give back to others by sharing what you've now learned. In the beginning, you'll focus on beginners, but as you advance and keep working on step one, you'll soon be expert for intermediate and advanced learner ... perhaps with the eventual goal of being an expert for experts!  


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