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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.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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