How to Start a Career as Motivational Speaker

January 17, 2012 | By | 2 Replies More

Asian Business WomanQUESTION on Becoming a Motivational Speaker

I am interested in being a motivational speaker. I do have a topic in mind and feel it would be a benefit to companies. My concern is getting clients. What is the best way to sell myself and idea? How do I find the right person to speak with to present my idea. Any suggestion is appreciated.

– Renee

ANSWER by Yvonne Buchanan

Dear Renee:

You’re one in a million. Most people would rather walk over hot coals than speak in public, and you plan to make a living at it. What I’ve usually recommended to clients who wanted to create speaking opportunities is to create a speaker’s bureau. A speaker’s bureau is simply a panel of speakers available to speak on specific topics. To promote the speaker’s bureau, I often recommend a brochure, possibly with photos, short bios and a list of topics that each speaker can address. This brochure is then sent to likely venues.

There’s just you, and you have a topic in mind, so creating a brochure should be fairly straightforward. However, motivational speaking is a general rather than specific focus. That’s more difficult because it’s hard to be the expert on a general topic; it’s much easier to be recognized as an expert on a specific topic. To overcome this hurdle (i.e., to prove you are the expert to speak on the topic), you’ll want to include with your brochure a sample cassette tape or CD of your speech. Make it your best effort.

Now, as for whom to contact: Try approaching associations first (Rotary Club, City Clubs, Small Business Administration). Find out the name of the person in each organization responsible for scheduling speakers. Send them your brochure, tape/CD combo or video and follow up with a phone call. A speaking slot at an association function can get you exposure to a lot of other businesses and organizations. Bring your brochure or business card to hand out at each function, and you’ll create a snowball effect of speaking opportunities.

The Net also provides a great opportunity for you to showcase your talents. Consider creating a web page with a brief snippet of your motivational talk. Include the URL for this page on all of your correspondence, your business cards, your e-mail signature, etc. Also, check the Internet for speaker listing services. One general site is

You can do this, Renee. In the words of motivational speakers everywhere, “Go for it!”

Yvonne Buchanan

Recommended Resources on Becoming a Motivational Speaker:

Originally published January 15, 2002. Updated January 17, 2012.

Yvonne Buchanan is a 20-year veteran of public relations, marketing and advertising. She teaches public relations courses online for career changers, freelancers and students through The PR Academy and is co-founder of Real-World PR , a public relations information provider for small businesses. Real-World PR offers public relations toolkits (manual/CD combinations) that allow small business owners to create and maintain their own public relations programs.

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Category: Business Ideas, Q & A

Comments (2)

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  1. Niefatul says:

    This is a deep question that we all need to ask ourselves What is it? Thank you for using your God given talent of speech to inspire others to be their best.

  2. Gwen says:

    Thank you so much for what you do. I am in the law enforcement business. I was a “Glass Ceiling” breaker according to others as the first African American Female to reach my rank in my large police agency. I am SO inspired by where you have been, what you have done and what you continue to add to the world.

    Having been a teen-aged mother from a rural community in Louisiana, to a US Navy Veteran to where I am now. It has been an extremely tough road and you, are an inspiration. I just wanted to say “Thank you”.


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