How To Become a Motivational Speaker

And  A Magnet For Life Coaching Clients

As a life coach it's a real plus to  also become a motivational speaker and use your presentations a tool to grow your practice.  Here are 10 motivational speaking tips on getting started, even if you are scared,  and the traps to avoid...

There is a certain kudos that comes your way when you take on a stage persona and present to an audience.  You have credibility almost from the moment you stand up to speak.

And if you can follow through with a persuasive presentation, you will soon be recognised as articulate expert and be in demand for all sorts of occasions - not to mention attracting new clients.    


So to get started on your journey to become a motivational speaker as well as a life coach.  And you'll also find some great presentation tips in this video by Richarde Locke


Motivational Speaking Tips And Tricks

1. Handle that public speaking anxiety

Learn the Magic of Public Speaking from this book

If you suffer, as so many do, from public speaking panic - it terrifies you - get some confidence and presentation skills training. 

My colleague Richard Locke has produced a really great video that takes you step by step through meeting all the challenges of standing up and delivering your talk and ending up with a really successful presentation. You can preview it here

And if you aim to become a motivational speaker in the context of life coaching, one of the best ways to get good advice is to join one of the many international Toastmasters speaking courses  or in Australia the local branch Rostrum which helps aspiring speakers develop confidence and skills.

And a good book to have on your shelf is The Magic of Public Speaking by Andrii Sedniev.  Written specifically for new speakers it is a useful reference book with lots of good information on presenting and some great gems to avoid having those "learning experiences."

2. Taylor your presentation to the time slot you have been given

Make the subject of each of your presentation something that can be tailored to different time slots.  It can be nerve wracking for you and the organizer of your presentation if you finish too early, or have to be cut short because you have run out of time.

However if you do finish early you can always fill in time by calling for questions (and praying that you get some!☺

At a networking breakfast or lunch you will most likely get between 20 and 40 minutes to get your message across, whereas in a conference you might get 45 minutes to an hour or even longer.

Handouts: To compensate for the eventuality that you may not get to cover all the points you planned, have a value-added handout to leave with the audience. Maybe a list of tips or a special offer.  Make sure it has your contact details and website on it. (Obvious I know, but you’d be surprised!).

3.  Have a powerful basic message about who you help and how

However you are framing up your presentation on coaching, it’s important that your audience gets who you are and what you stand for.  

Marketing From Within

 Creating a powerful marketing message to adapt and weave into your presentation will anchor the benefit of working with you. 

Stuck on what your basic message is and how it should sound?

My colleague Cindy Schulson has a wonderful website, Marketing From Within, with lots of free information and tools to help get you there.  

4. Develop some basic themes around the benefits of coaching

One of the first steps  as a life coach to become a motivational speaker is to develop two or three presentations that demonstrate the benefits of coaching and get the audience involved.

But don’t just stand up there and waffle on about coaching and how great it is. That is not the way to motivate your audience.

I usually present using a theme related to the life skills and goal planning information in my book Be Your Own Goals Coach and, within the time frame I am given, base the presentation on three to five of the key point.

So pick a favorite coaching process or two build your presentations around them.

Include personal stories and relate experiences you have had with clients (anonymously of course) and leave the audience with some valuable tips they can use in their lives.

5.  Audience participation will keep your audience engaged 

One of the best techniques to successfully become a motivational speaker is to get the audience to participate, even if it is only a show of hands in answer to a question or getting them to share with the person next to them on a particular topic.

Maybe start by telling the audience briefly what you are going to talk about so you get them interested in what is to come. Tell them they can either ask questions as you go or you will take questions at the end of the presentation.

However, one of the dangers of  saying you will take questions during the presentation is that you can get off track and run out of time to get all your message across.

6 . Avoid "Death by Power Point"

Using too much power point is not the way to become a motivational speaker

If you use PowerPoint (and personally I never have so I can’t give you any tips on that☺.),  don’t just stand there and read off your PowerPoint slides - that is not the way to become a motivational speaker.

Make sure your PowerPoint presentation is used just as a prompt, an anchor or a summary and is interesting to look at with graphics or pictures rather than just words.

One of my most successful presentations was at the end of the first day of a conference, late in the afternoon, when the audience was tired and literally suffering “death by PowerPoint”,  after numerous informative but boring presentations.

I had been invited to talk about networking (I had framed it up as "Networking as a Tool to Achieving Your Goals"), and had the audience up, moving, interacting and having fun.

Because I engaged the participants in activities, I got the highest speaker rating at that conference, even though my information was pretty basic and not even that much on topic.


 7. Customize your presentation to the audience

When approaching a networking or business organization you would like to speak to, try and find out what sort of subjects their members are requesting information on.

 If you know what they are looking for you can frame up your proposal to match and adapt your content to suit. Let’s face it many aspect of life coaching can be customised to suit almost any industry or situation.

Also, take the trouble to familiarize yourself with the profession or industry so you can drop in information that relates to your audience and shows you have done your homework about them and are not just giving a rote presentation.

Mingle! If you have the opportunity mingle and chat with the audience before you speak so you become a little familiar with who they are and where they are coming from and can even refer to them during the presentation.  I have observed many great speakers doing this.

8. How long does the organiser want your presentation to be?

And please, please remember to ask when you are booked to speak, how long they want you to speak for – and be prepared to have less if the other activities of the function run over.

Unfortunately some hosts  at networking functions will talk on and on about their organization and upcoming events and will be oblivious to the fact that you are sitting, sweating with nerves and just wanting to get on with it.

It’s always a good idea to ask your host,  just before you stand up “how long have I got?”   This will enable you to edit your content if necessary.  And remember to allow enough time at the end to promote any yourself products you have.

Conferences are a different matter as they are usually well organized and well timed.

 9. Get feedback and testimonials for your presentation

Feedback is essential on your journey as a life coach to become a motivational speaker. Ask the organizer of the speaking event to give you a written testimonial of about your presentation.   Many times the audience at an event will be given a feedback sheet to fill about their satisfaction with the event overall and how good they found each speaker. 

Make make sure you have an arrangement to get a copy of these as they will be invaluable as feedback on what you may need to work on and material for testimonials to help you get more engagements.

Don't be too upset if someone didn't like you - you can't please everyone - it's the overall rating that matters.

10.  Practice, practice, practice to become a motivational speaker

Maybe the most important tip of all if you want to become a motivational speaker is to practice on any audience that will have you.  Offer to give presentations to local community organizations.  You may not get clients and you almost certainly won't get paid, but these occasions are a great opportunity to hone your speaking skills and have "learnings" that don't matter so much.

As you become more confident and proficient and known as a speaker as well as a life coach, you can approach various speaking bureaus to list a profile of you and your speaking subjects.

The bureau will then have you on file for when they get a request that matches your profile and you may score paid speaking engagements at industry conferences or business meetings.

Your Seminar Preparation Checklist 

Ask any speaker how their presentation went and, in many cases the “hitches” were not caused by their content or delivery, but by peripheral things that went wrong in the room and could have been avoided.  

The logistics of the room such as how it is set up and how handouts will be distributed will greatly affect how the audience receives you and how you profit from your speaking efforts.  Here are six seminar preparation tips that can save the day on your way to becoming a motivational speaker, and a website I found with some more useful information on seminar preparation checklists:

  1. Have your own master checklist:  List everything you need to be provided for you or to take with you. Things like flip-charts, screens, microphones, Wifi,  products to sell, handouts, spare pens, business cards and so on. Never assume what will be provided - including parking.  Always check with the organiser. 
  2. Confirm attendance: The day before the event confirm numbers that are expected.  Taking a few extra handouts just in case.
  3. Do a check on how the room is set up before you present:  Arrive early so you can check on things like the position of the lectern, glare on a screen, the seating configuration.  Make sure you will be visible from all seats.  Don't be afraid to ask for things to be changed.
  4. Have some help: If possible have someone come with you.  This person can help with the set up, find what's missing and handle any product sales so you are free to talk with people and generally be there for you.
  5. Avoid mealtime distractions: Ask the organiser of a lunch or dinner function if they can possibly avoid you having to speak whilst the audience is eating or at least until they get to desert and coffee.  If you don’t feel like eating before speaking, (I never do!) don’t let the organizers dump food down in front of you the minute you finish and sit down as people will be reluctant to approach you for more information whilst you are eating. 
  6. Get contact details of your audience:  If you are presenting pro-bono to networking or business associations, it’s common to offer a gift or raffle prize to the audience in exchange for business cards.   I  take my own container to collect the cards in so they don't go astray.  

That’s about it from me folks on how as a life coach you can become a motivational speaker.  I'm sure there's more so please add your experiences, ideas and comments using the form below. And here are some more creative and affordable marketing strategies for coaches for you to consider.


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