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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Become a Motivational Speaker and Influence Millions of People

How to Become a Motivational Speaker and Influence Millions of People

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?

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is a communication professor, dating/relationship and success coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

What Is a Relationship Timeline and Should You Follow It? Dealing With Anxious Attachment: Advice from a Relationship Therapist Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner) How to Become a Motivational Speaker and Influence Millions of People

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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