You’ve seen them up on stage – yelling, pointing, pounding their fists and waving their arms. Motivational speaking is big business, with conferences around the country booking masters of inspiration for major fees. Well over 1,000 members of the National Speakers Association make their living by giving inspiring and motivational speeches. Many of these speakers are celebrities and experts in their fields, but you don’t need to be Donald Trump or Tony Robbins to get involved in this exciting career. Even mere mortals can be paid to exhort on stage – with the right message and presentation. You don’t need to have years of experience, either. Some new speakers get into this field right out of college.
So what does it take to be a motivational speaker? What’s the secret to making it in this potentially lucrative field?
While you don’t need to have been a football star, astronaut, or real estate tycoon, you do need to have a story to share. What is it from your life that you can use to inspire others? Often this is a tale of woe, and winning the battle to overcome problems against incredible odds. Many who have had disabilities or tragic childhoods, have been able to turn this into an inspiring story. People like to hear about others overcoming their struggles – as long as there’s something they can apply to themselves.
Then there’s the presentation. Motivational speakers are known for their high-energy style. They use grand gestures, larger than life images, and all the tricks of good storytelling to capture the audience’s attention and draw them in. They know how to play on emotions, and can have you tearing up about a sad story in one minute, laughing at a silly joke in another, and then feeling amped up and powerful with the thought that you, too, can achieve success.
New speakers usually start small, and build from there. You might only make $100 for an early appearance at a small venue. You may need to do a road trip to little towns, eating fast food and staying in cheap hotels. It’s hardly a glamorous career at that stage, but if you persist, this can change. Once you’re established with successful engagements and great references under your belt, this number can go way up. It’s common for a keynote speaker to earn a fee of $5,000 for one presentation, and superstars like Ellen DeGeneres can pull over $200,000 for a single speech.
Moving up the ladder as a motivational speaker
Marketing yourself and your presentation is the key to moving up the ladder. You need to sell potential clients on the fact that you’re the one who can capture their audience, and fire them up to get out there and conquer dragons. Making a demo video of yourself, a teaser for your presentation, is an excellent tool to give people an idea of what you bring to the stage. There’s often more to the business than just the speaking part, too. Many professional speakers also sell books, CD’s, t-shirts, or DVD’s. Follow-on seminars and mentoring programs can be another lucrative source of back end revenue. Taking your life struggles and turning them into a profitable business as a motivational speaker may seem like a dream come true. For some people, it is.
Honesty and flexibility
Skilled motivational speakers can easily adjust to various requirements, demands, and goals. You might have to adjust your performance and speech to the needs and wants of your audience. It’s worth having a comprehensive plan in case you have to switch things up. An important part of a motivational speaker’s job is to be prepared for questions. Your audience will want to know you, your business, and your opinions regarding various matters. Just be honest and if you’re not knowledgeable in a domain or you just don’t want to talk about, say it.
Motivational speaking is powerful. Small business people owners who want to make it are often drawn by the life stories of such a speaker. How many of you wanted to start a business after seeing The Wolf of Wall Street? The movie was without a doubt inspirational from various points of view, but it was the real story behind the movie that made it so special.