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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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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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