Motivational Speaker In Five Simple Steps

SwansonDSC_3524I am convinced that one is born every minute. A motivational speaker, I mean. Every time I get up on a stage, someone sits out there and says, “I can do that!” And since there is no barrier to entry, they usually do. But saying you want to be a motivational speaker, and actually making money as a motivational speaker are two very different things, and there is a long path from one to the other. I know, because I’ve been walking it for years. So today, I have found a way to narrow down my advice to five steps. These aren’t observations about the industry, or even words of advice. They are steps – as in do one, then the other, etc.

1. Figure out what you speak about. Understand what it is you help people do, how it solves their problem, why you’re the one to help, and how you’re going to help them get there. This is called message and content. If you just want to tell funny stories and make people laugh, you are only halfway there. That’s how you deliver the message. First figure out the message. If there’s no message, then you’re an entertainer.

2. Write a speech. A phenomenal speech. A speech that you know inside and out and backwards and forwards, filled with your best stuff. Don’t start selling a product you don’t have yet. If you don’t have a speech, you aren’t ready to sell a speech.

3. Build an online platform where people can find you and see what you’re all about. This is the website, the online one-sheet, the videos – anything that will show them what it’s like to have you speak. They don’t just want to know what you speak about, they want to know how you deliver the message, what the experience is like.

4. Figure out your fees and your sales pitch.  You can’t stammer on the phone and hope you come up with the right words in the right moment. You should be very clear on what you speak about, how to relay that message and fit their pain point, how you are different from the other speakers they are looking at, how this process of booking you works, and how much your charge. Learn to sell like you’re not selling.

5. Start building a list of people who books speakers like you, and reaching out to them regularly. I can already hear you now, “But I don’t know HOW!”  Then figure it out, just like the rest of us did. No, you can’t buy a list. No you can’t pay someone else to find you jobs. No, paying to get an ad on Google isn’t enough. And even if you hire a coach, you’re still going to have to do the work yourself. Start building an email list and a database of current and potential clients. And contact them routinely, as in quarterly, not hourly.  And start sending your message out to the world through every online means that works for you. If you want to encourage people and make them laugh, quit waiting for someone to hire you – start doing it. Use Facebook to make people laugh. Build a following. Write a blog that encourages people. As Nike so brilliantly says, “Just do it.”

There you go. Five steps. Not easy. It never is. But it is that simple.

Good luck! Now get back to work.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by Our State Magazine as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at or call 1-888-766-3155.

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