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Last Updated on March 11, 2020

How to Become a Successful Motivational Speaker (Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Become a Successful Motivational Speaker (Step-By-Step Guide)

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?

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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.

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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.

10. Network

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.

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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.

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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?

More Tips for Becoming a Better Speaker

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

The 10 Stages of a Relationship That Every Couple Should Understand Can You Really Fix a Toxic Relationship (And How)? How to Become a Successful Motivational Speaker (Step-By-Step Guide) How to Handle a Cheating Spouse How to Get Out of an Abusive Relationship and Start Afresh

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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