Becoming a motivational speaker can be a challenging, but rewarding profession for both you and your listeners. Motivational speakers are passionate about their subject, whether it’s finances, relationships or career goals. They wish to share this passion with their listeners and inspire them to take the steps necessary to achieve their goals. If you are similarly passionate about a topic and wish to share it with others while inspiring them to action, there are a few steps you can take towards becoming a motivational speaker. #1. Become an Expert However, just knowing your topic isn’t quite good enough. You must also become an expert in it. You must know more about your chosen topic than the people to whom you are speaking. Also, if you wish to be a motivational speaker on the topic of financial success, you must have more information at your fingertips than you can realistically opine about in a single session. Not knowing your topic inside out can lead to embarrassment and failure. Remember, you must impress those to whom you speak. #2. Refine Your Message Pushing too broad a message is never a good thing. Your audience can become bored or confused and may leave feeling as though they hadn’t learned very much. Prevent despondency by refining your message. A clear message will allow your audience to focus on its essence. It is also important to keep your message relevant and timely. Make sure that your audience can relate to your message and that it is actionable. No one finds value in advice that they cannot use. Additionally, make sure that your message is unique and offers something different from the speeches that your competition may offer. #3. Take classes in public speaking While your information may be timely and relevant, don’t be afraid of taking classes that will help you develop as a speaker. Public speaking is an art that comes naturally to very few people. Everyone else needs to work at it. Taking classes will allow you to work out the kinks in your message and delivery as you learn from experts. You will also learn to avoid the common pitfalls that could derail your burgeoning career. #4. Offer free speeches Getting paid for your speeches is not an easy task, especially when you are new. Very few people are willing to pay to listen to an unknown speaker. To combat this, try putting your name out there by offering to give your speeches for free. People already in your circle are a great target for this. However, you can also approach schools, conferences and non-profit organizations. As your fame grows, soon you will be in a position to charge a fee for your speeches. It is important that you do not deliver your speeches until you are sure they are ready for delivery. Bad press at such a vulnerable stage in your career can create setbacks. #5. Know your audience Having a good topic worth discussing is simply not enough. Know your material, but know your audience as well. Each audience you speak to will be different. Whether the defining characteristic has to do with education, socio-economic status or experiences, every audience has its own particular makeup. You simply cannot deliver the same message to different audiences. Tailoring your message helps ensure that it comes across. #6. Choose a topic you both know about and believe in Brian Tracy explains that motivational speakers have a level of passion for their chosen subject matter. In order to harness and exude this type of passion, you must be selective about your topic. Pick a topic in which you are genuinely interested and about which you want other people to know. If you have a genuine interest in your topic, your passion will be unmistakable and your audience will find that appealing. #7. Practice your writing Learning to write inspiring, informative speeches is a big part of becoming successful as a motivational speaker. Practicing your delivery and knowing your audience is great, but if your material is dull, uninformative, repetitive or relies heavily on cliches, you must spend some time developing material that will grasp your listeners and leave them more knowledgeable than when you first met them. #8. Invite feedback Sometimes we get caught up in our passion and are oblivious to whether or not we are any good at what we do. It is the same with public speaking. While we may be passionate about it, there is no real way to know if we are good or effective unless we invite feedback from our listeners. Allowing your audience members to give you honest, anonymous feedback on your talks may help you ferret out the unknown issues while giving you the opportunity to correct them. Sadly, friends and family are of little use when it comes to giving the type of honest feedback we crave. They love you and tend to be less brutal than they need to be. Instead, seek out an unbiased audience who might be more willing to be frank with you. #9. Record yourself Another great way to work out the kinks in your speeches is by recording yourself when practicing or when addressing an audience. When reviewing the recordings, be sure to judge your body language and also be sure to gauge the audience’s reactions to your words. Assess for yourself whether you are gaining the reactions you want from them at critical periods in your speech. Adjust your speech to create the impacts you wish at just the right times. Becoming a motivational speaker is not an easy task and it’s not a task for those who are easily discouraged. It will demand hours of planning and practice. Along the way, you may discover that it is more difficult than you originally believed. However, as difficult as it may be, the contentment you will feel from inspiring others will make up for it tenfold. 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