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Last Updated on August 27, 2021

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

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

Have you ever dreamed of being the next Martin Luther King Jr. (minus the tragedy) or Tony Robbins? Would you love to travel the globe speaking to, and inspiring, millions of people with your message? Learning how to become a motivational speaker takes dedication and 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 not give endless speeches related to that topic. 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? When you’re learning how to become a motivational speaker, it’s important to know exactly what you want to teach your audience.

For example, let’s say you are passionate about environmental issues. 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?

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[1]? It really depends on your topic.

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However, there are some topics that are relevant to every human being on the planet, while others are only pertinent to, say, parents or lawyers. Who do you want to speak to?

5. Make Sure Your Message Is Relevant and Timely

You want to teach your audience something new. You want it to be relevant to their lives so that they think 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 as you’re learning how to become a motivational speaker.

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

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.

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

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.

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9. Find Your Audience

Who is your audience? Are you speaking to women, children, business owners, etc.? It is imperative that you narrow down your target audience when you’re learning how to become a motivational speaker.

Then, you need to find them in order to deliver your message. This is all about marketing and advertising. How will you speak to your audience?

You can access them through social media, flyers, cold emails, or word of mouth. Find where and how to access your audience to begin to grow your following.

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

Tony Robbins didn’t become “Tony Robbins” overnight. He was a nobody at some point in his life, before he learned how to become a motivational speaker.

If you’re currently a “nobody,” don’t fret. You can become a “somebody,” but you might need to do speaking engagements for free at first. Once you gain a reputation, then you can work on getting paid to speak while developing your motivational speaking career.

12. Sign up for Conventions That Offer Speakers

There are plenty of conventions that seek out speakers. Do your research, try to find some that are relevant to your topic, and apply to be a speaker.

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Again, you may have to speak 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 when learning how to become a motivational speaker. Just get on the internet and Google the ones closest to you to find more speaking opportunities.

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?

You can’t reach your goals—or your audience—if you don’t have a marketing plan[2]. Make sure you include both short-term and long-term goals.

15. Hire a Marketing or Public Relations Expert

If you don’t even know where to begin writing or implementing a marketing plan, 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

As you’re learning how to become a motivational speaker, ask the audience for feedback. Asking for feedback will help you learn and improve twice as fast.

You can construct your own evaluation form to distribute after the speech. Hopefully, the audience will be honest and give you constructive feedback. However, don’t make it too long, because they might dissuade them from finishing it. Try to keep it to less than 10 questions, and shoot for 5 if possible.

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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 simply 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

Reference

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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 September 5, 2021

How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

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How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

I don’t know about you, but it was nearly impossible for me to be proactive at work last year.

Every week, I would map out my game plan and color-coded my calendar. But when I tried to set things in motion, I faced ten-foot barriers that would force me to change direction. I’d have to reschedule meetings, push deadlines back, and reorganize my life because of all the twists and turns. Pivoting became my life, and it was taking over every part of it.

When I think back to 2020, it was like trying to survive the Tour de France blindfolded. By the end of the year, I was worn out, and I was in no mood to organize my 2021 goals. Being proactive was the furthest from my mind. In many ways, I didn’t even want to dream about new projects.

When January 1st entered the scene, I crawled back under my covers and hoped for the best—or at least a year that would be more predictable with less pivoting.

You want to be hopeful for this year, but a part of you is afraid of another year filled with more barriers and you’re tired of trying to survive the chaos. You’re not alone.

Over 100,000 businesses have permanently shut their doors because of Covid-19.[1] Start-Ups aren’t getting a second chance.[2] And according to Pew Research, one in four adults still have a hard time finding money to pay their bills.[3]

This reality is not the most inspiring for those of us who are business leaders. If anything, it feels like the grim reaper is right around the corner to destroy our dreams and add us to the rising number of failed companies.

Being proactive is one of the most challenging things to muster right now. But it is one of the most imperative traits that we need to embrace.

But first, let’s be clear, what does being proactive mean?

Defining the Term “Proactive” In-Depth

The word proactive often floats around the workplace, usually by well-meaning managers asking employees or their team to, “Be more proactive!” But have you ever stopped to think about what that actually means?

The dictionary definition of proactive is, “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”

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Being proactive is about dealing with any obstacles or challenges before they even happen. Simply put, a proactive person plans ahead.

For example, you’re buying an older home. The seller tells you that it has a sturdy foundation and an engineer confirms it. Most people would be satisfied with this answer.

A proactive person, however, would think beyond what’s presented and look into any potential issues. They may ask questions like, “How long is the lifespan of the foundation?”, “Is it earthquake ready?”, or “Does insurance cover the foundation?”

Depending on the answers, proactive people would respond accordingly and put safeguards in place to avoid these problems or minimise its impact. While it seems like a lot of resources and effort are spent at the beginning, it can actually lessen your stress and save you time and effort because you’re either preventing a problem or already have a solution at hand when the challenge arises.

This doesn’t mean that proactive people never have to put out fires on occasion. However, when you have a proactive mindset, most of the issues that come up seemingly out of left field are already something you’ve considered. And this makes you better equipped to handle situations calmly and enact a solution.

If you want your business to succeed this year, you need to be proactive at work. Situations around the world are constantly changing and you never know what the next month, year or even hour might bring and how it would affect your work. Planning ahead and preparing for the future is incredibly vital in our current climate.

Proactivity vs Reactivity

We can’t discuss proactivity without exploring the other side of the coin: Reactivity.

Being reactive is the complete opposite of being proactive. A reactive person doesn’t feel the need to address a problem until it’s already occurred. They simply react to a situation because it’s already there.

Spontaneity and the ability to address problems as they arise is important in leadership, and in life. After all, we cannot predict the future no matter how hard we try. But oftentimes reactive people encounter problems because they refuse to take action even though there have been warning signs of imminent trouble.

Reactivity also comes from a place of panic. Because you have not thought or planned ahead, you react instantaneously. You may not offer the best solution because you haven’t had time to fully review the situation, and maybe even create more problems.

It won’t be easy, but it will be a lot easier with the following practical habits that I’ve put together for you. These tools will make all the difference for you and your organization.

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7 Practical Habits to Turn Reactivity into Proactivity

Even proactive people can exhibit reactive behavior. No one is perfect and the corporate and business world can be unpredictable. But you can turn things around and be proactive even when you have not anticipated challenges that face you. Here are some tips:

1. Don’t Be Busy

Repeat after me: only do what is necessary—no more and no less.

If you’re anything like me, as soon as January 1st comes along, you cram in all your five-year goals into one packed year. You love seeing your schedule filled. But being busy isn’t the same as being productive. Being proactive requires you to take a step back, reevaluate your priorities, and actually take things off of your plate before adding new goals.

The brain is not designed to always operate at full capacity twenty-four hours a day.[4] It needs a break. If we’re constantly immersing ourselves throughout the day with frivolous tasks, then we don’t have time to concentrate on our goals.

This year, I’m taking a break from the chaos and learning to do fewer tasks with more investment.

Think of it this way. Planning takes time. It’s like painting an apartment. Before you can add color to the drab walls of your living room, you have to plan and prep the area. The same is true for being proactive at work.

2. Stop Trying to Run Everyone’s Race

If you want to direct the narrative of your life, you need to take a step back and get rid of the clutter. Figure out what you can delegate and then, focus your energy away from the distractions. Not every email needs a reply, and not every job is right for you.

Shakespeare said it best,[5]

“To thine own self be true.”

These six words need to become your mantra.

If you want to reach your goals this year and be proactive, you need to walk forward with laser focus. If you compare yourself or your business to the next big thing, you won’t contribute anything except a lesser copy of yourself and your organization.

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Part of being proactive is being creative. You have to be able to see the different angles and nuances in a situation or project in order to anticipate potential issues and come up with creative solutions. If you’re constantly looking over someone else’s work, you’re not focusing on what’s in front of you. And you could end up missing a lot of obstacles that you could’ve avoided if you were paying attention.

Stop looking around. Your purpose is not to run the race of someone else. If you want to be proactive at work, you need to stop comparing yourself to your neighbor and stick to running your own race. It’s the only way that you’ll win.

3. Make “Essentialism” Your 2021 Word

When you’re figuring out your 2021 goals, take time to weigh the cost. Ask yourself if it’s worth the investment. Being proactive means that you take into consideration all the variables before cementing your goals.

Before you map out your plan or get crazy with those highlighters, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Will this goal help create balance in my life?
  • Will this goal produce a return on investment?

If you can answer a resounding “yes” to both of these questions, then take these ideas and write them down on a piece of paper.

After you’ve compiled a list of 15 to 20 ideas, take a new sheet of paper and break it into two columns. The first section should contain a list of goals that take priority. These ideas would fall under the umbrella of being trend-related and financially profitable.

The second section should contain a list of goals that will increase your social proof and promote your priority goals. This column drives traffic and promotes awareness of your business and your product.

After you’ve compiled this list, break it in half and cut it down to three goals in each section. Three is the perfect number because it gives you leeway to pivot and bend if you need to make changes throughout the process.

The two excellent tools that have helped me develop a schedule of essentialism are Hilary Rushford’s Elegant Excellence Journal[6] and Jill Konrath’s book, “More Sales. Less Time.

Both of these tools have helped me focus on what’s important, make the best decisions for my business, and make a profit without sacrificing my health.

4. Order the Same Latte

When you look at the greats in the business world, they all encompass one thing: simplicity.

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If you minimize your choices and stick to the basics, you’ll have the ability to save time and focus your energy on decisions that require your creativity. Keeping up with the latest fashion trends not only sacrifices your time but also sacrifices your budget.

Remember, it’s not about looking successful. It’s about making choices that give you the ability to be successful.

Here are four things that you can do to save time to make you more proactive at work:

  • Buy multiples of the same outfit and mix and match throughout the week.
  • Order the same drink each day from the same coffee shop.
  • Prepare meals at the beginning of the week for lunch and dinner.
  • Set your alarm for the same time each morning, including weekends.

5. Don’t Pressure Yourself to Respond Immediately

It’s okay to be surprised or be blindsided. Sometimes things just happen that is out of your control. What you are in control of, however, is your reaction. There’s nothing wrong with not having a solution or response at hand. It’s okay to take a step back and think about it first before responding.

6. Put a Pin on It

If you find yourself being unable to come up with a good solution, you can put a pin on it. You may want to address another matter first, one you already know how to deal with. It may give you inspiration and confidence when you come back to your other issues. Unless of course the imminent problem is fire outside your door.

7. Prioritize What’s Important

The thing with problems that come up suddenly, is that they may have already caused damage you can’t reverse. You have to learn to accept the situation and instead of trying to solve the unsolvable, prioritize what’s important, see what you can salvage and take note of lessons that will help you in the future.

It’s impossible to be proactive if you feel rushed. But if you follow the above tips, you’ll gain more time in your schedule and have more energy to lead your business and operate with a well-organized game plan.

Final Thoughts

I think the majority of us are tired of feeling like we’re contestants in Survivor. After all, who wants to be filmed while living in the woods and surviving off of bugs and tree bark?

All kidding aside. This past year has been challenging. But we can learn a lot from these past twelve months.

If you want to be proactive, simplify your schedule, focus on your path, only take what you need, and be purposeful with your time and energy. Being proactive is not about filling up your schedule. It’s about creating balance in your life.

I know it seems daunting right now, and many of us are still trying to figure out how to pay this month’s rent with spare change from the couch. But if you take the time to prepare and figure out what’s a priority this year, you’ll not only meet your goals, you’ll enjoy the journey.

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You have all the tools you need to be proactive at work. Now, go map out your 2021 goals for the year!

More Tips on How to Be Proactive

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

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