becoming a motivational speaker

What Skills are Needed to Becoming a Motivational Speaker?

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A man with short hair looking keenly at someone and talking. He is dressed in a blue shirt with sleeves rolled up  holding a microphone in his left hand with his right arm raised and his hand closed except for his index finger. Used in the article Becoming a Motivational Speaker?
Telling a story.

Thinking of becoming a Motivational Speaker?

It has always been a challenging profession,

Read on to see that it is not all beer and skittles.

The Most Important Skill of All for a Motivational Speaker.

The most important skill is to understand it is not about you. Becoming a motivational speaker is something many seem to fall into due to challenging circumstances. The most successful help their audience overcome a problem (if I can you can). The Biggest skill of all though is knowing your weak points and improving on them.

By the time you finish reading this, you may have a change of heart about becoming a motivational speaker.

Let’s take a look.

The 5 most important traits (there are others) include:

1. The most powerful presentations are those delivered with passion. Speaking from the heart. A message or story built around a story or event you are passionate about can inspire people to do things they may never have considered, or been too afraid of doing.

2. Empathizing with people. Putting yourself in their shoes to understand their motivations and the reasons they are at your presentation, is a powerful way to inspire and empower people. Don’t forget humor! Adding humor to a presentation will keep your audience engaged.

3. You must be confident. Knowledge of your topic will give you that confidence. Giving yourself time to practice the delivery of your speech will make it a more powerful presentation.

4. Tailoring your speech so that it is succinct, by delivering short, on-point messages (combined with humor), will keep your audience engaged and receptive to your message.

5. Your speaking voice, needs to exude authority and confidence. Voice coaching is common among radio and TV announcers, actors, comedians, singers, and motivational speakers. So why not you too?

What is a Motivational Speaker’s Role?

In English, it is a noun and is described as:-

Someone whose job is to give speeches that motivate people (makes people feel more enthusiastic and determined.)

It could be said that anyone speaking before an audience is a motivational speaker.

The role is to motivate people to the desired end, It could be any number of things from…

  • Giving a donation towards a good cause. Homelessness, cancer research, at-risk children etc.
  • Book launches where the speaker’s message is on improving their audience’s life outcomes.
  • Pentecostal sermons and many other religious sermons are motivational speeches.
  • After dinner speaker for a sports award night.
  • Sports coaches give their team pep talks.
  • Articulate your point of view at a political rally to gain votes.

Is Motivational Speaking a Good Career?

All through history people have been influenced by good motivators.

And throughout history, those in charge have had an intense dislike for motivational speakers.

Sometimes for good reason. Hitler is one instance.

But the rulers at the time were beaten wrecks of men who had lost the willpower to fight back.

Good or bad it doesn’t seem to matter.

Someone will hate you anyway.

Martin Luther King died from a haters bullet.

Winston Churchill was inspirational. Many politicians are.

It doesn’t guarantee election to office though.

After leading England through WW2, Churchill’s charisma and capability as a debater and motivational speaker were not enough to prevent his Conservative party from losing the 1945 general election by a whopping 145 seats.

John F Kennedy springs to mind, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what can you do for your country.”

Someone didn’t like those sentiments.

What has changed in the World you may ask?

Very little it would seem.

Eloquent speakers have been despised by those who have the power and ability to shut down popular commentary with violence since ancient times.

There is no room for debate. It is the LAW… Hang him!

The rule these days are pretty much the same as they were back in the day.

“Shut up and do as we say.”

James Naylor was a popular and eloquent preacher in England in the 17th. century.

The church didn’t like what he was saying so it complained to the parliament.

Parliament sent some thugs out to arrest him.

While fellow Quakers were emigrating to the Americas in search of religious freedom.

He was on a platform in England, surrounded by people waving pitchforks while being branded on the forehead, and having a hole inserted through his tongue with a piece of hot metal.

This was after they gave him a week off to recover from a 300-lash flogging.  

Still sure you want to be a Motivational speaker?

There are still struggles today where speakers against a government narrative or policies of the government are shut down, imprisoned, or denied employment.

Or worse in some Islamic states.

The culture of canceling is alive and well.

Have something taken out of context, you are pilloried.

A sketch of John Bull with Napoleons head on a pitchfork. Used in the article What Skills are Needed to Becoming a Motivational Speaker?
Print source Wikipedia.

Say something someone doesn’t like, you are canceled.

State a fact the elites don’t want to acknowledge and they will ridicule you through the media.

Guest speakers and motivational speakers are all susceptible to heavy scrutiny.

It only takes a press release for an event to attract the unwanted attention of some nark, who has a blinkered view of life.

Controversy is a very thin line that is easy to trip over in today’s politically correct climate.

Cross it, and one way or another they will have your scalp (or head).

Even benign subjects, be it health and wellness, entrepreneurship, economics, youth, technology, business-and-leadership have the potential to attract controversy.

Despite all that, I can’t think of a more challenging, fun career to be honest.

Why People become Motivational Speakers.

Many people become speakers unintentionally by unplanned events.

Nando Parrado is one of the survivors of the 1972 crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 and is one of the more famous motivational speakers in the world.

Although he doesn’t have the high profile of say, Tony Robbins.

It was about 20 years after the event before he started to speak openly about it.

Sports people need something at the end of their careers. Public speaking is an option many take up.

The Covid drama bought out people who never had a thought about becoming motivational speakers.

Graham Hood, a former pilot for Australian airline QANTAS decided he wasn’t going to comply with the vaccine mandates set by QANTAS and resigned.

Having spent a lifetime managing risk he made a video giving his reasons.

It received around 7 million views.

What happened? Big tech didn’t like it. They thought it was against their “community standards” so they removed it.

It is now on another platform you can See it here.

These days he travels throughout Australia giving motivational talks, baptizing people, and interviewing people.

Does he make money? No, he survives on donations and some savings.

He believes God will take care of things.

Interestingly, many motivational speakers have a firm belief in a higher power for the greater good.

His doctors with voices series is interviewing at its best.

It was never his intention to be a sought-after speaker. He was looking forward to a quiet retirement.

There are many others, some of whom you may never have heard of.
Top 10 motivational speakers.

You don’t have to be famous or had been involved in some unique event to be a motivational speaker.

People from all walks of life, some with the most humble beginnings or boring lifestyles are public speakers.

Many successful MLMs can trace the success of their business to good motivational speakers.

It doesn’t matter that the products were useless, but a good motivational speaker backed up with a good sales script, more or less guarantees a successful launch for a business.

Can Anyone Become a Motivational Speaker?


If you can read, write and talk you can become a motivational speaker.

You can be a disabled dwarf in a wheelchair, or even a convicted criminal, but if you have a story to tell that will help others, and can plan a presentation, you can be a motivational speaker.

You don’t have to complete a specific degree or training program to prepare for this career. Determine what expertise, experiences, and perspectives you can share, and what type of audience will benefit the most from it. While you may have expertise and experience to share on a specific topic, you may still need to do some independent research or talk with other experts to build a stronger base of knowledge in your field.


NOTE:- There are courses of differing scope and value available.

One I recommend is the IAP motivational speaking course.

It won’t cost you an arm or leg and will give you everything you need to set a foundation, understand your weaknesses, and show you how beginners can break into the speaking industry.

It will also give you all the information you need on how to present your own seminars and connect with other speakers.

Best of all you don’t have to give up your day job to do the course. You can do it online at your own pace.

More Motivational Speakers Course Here.

Something else I would recommend is a short course in psychology.

It might challenge the grey matter a little, but having an understanding of what makes people tick is interesting on its own.

Believe it or not, psychology is popular with comedians. True!

A Psychology Course Here

Who needs Motivational Speakers?

Probably everyone!

Disappointed people, depressed people, poor people, rich people, and aspirational people.

All those people who won the lottery of all the worst things that can happen to anyone.

Or as some people say, the lemon hamper.

Still, the sun comes up in the mornings and as they say, whatever got you through yesterday will get you through today.

My grandfather was a Warrant Officer in the army.

He had a saying that went something like this, “A kick up the rear will propel a man forward further and faster than a pat on the back.”

Motivational speaking does the same thing in a more polite way.

You may be struggling, but you need to stay motivated because people need you.

What are the steps to becoming a Motivational Speaker

Get your verbal IQ up to speed by reading as much as you can.

Research people with unique life stories or philosophies. 

Look for a specialization it could be:

  • Speaking to children, or teenagers.
  • Professionals in industry, on topics affecting them. Conflict resolution (how to deal with the office bitch), building teamwork, or self-esteem.
  • Selling your unique story.
  • Improving your speaking skills
  • Most importantly:- Preparation and good excellent knowledge of your topic

Regardless of whether you do a course or not, for most, it is a career that needs time to mature.

The benefit of doing a course is you have a formula to work with.

Even those with unique experiences to share spend a lot of time preparing their talk.

And let’s not pretend they didn’t do a course or have coaching. The majority of them did.

How else are you going to know what your weaknesses are, how to develop a script, fine-tune it, and get the delivery right?

Often times speakers will take questions. You need to be able to provide answers.

if you stay back for some snacks and drinks and a meet and greet, switch your psychological antenna to high frequency.

There is bound to be some nark who will try and trip you up on some small obscure detail.

Those courses again,

Motivational Speakers Course

Psychology Course.

Thanks for reading. Time for a coffee!

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