20 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Motivational Speaking Career

Posted on: Nov 06, 2014

Categories: Speaking

So: You want to begin a motivational speaking career. Here are the crucial things you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.

As a speaker in the corporate world, why would I want other speakers in the corporate world to have amazing keynotes that change company cultures? 

Because I don’t see them as my competitors: I see them as my teammates. 

The more great speakers there are, the more decision-makers will see the value of hiring speakers for their meetings and conferences. Bad speakers create a bad rap for all of us, and they are the reason that companies cut their speaker budgets.

Great speakers pave the way for more great speakers to get jobs.

Whether or not you’re interested in becoming a professional speaker or beginning your motivational speaking career all of us are required to speak in public at one time or another. It’s nearly impossible to be in a leadership position without being called upon to present. We should all be speakers, just as much as we are all readers, talkers, movers and breathers.

The secret to becoming a better public speaker isn’t much of a secret: you just need to do it. A lot. As in 100 times in the next year.

Start with why you’re there, why you’ve spent the time getting yourself there, what you’re there to speak about, why you’re passionate about it and why your audience should be as well.

If you videotape yourself, watch to learn how to improve, and speak as many times as you can—at least 100 separate occasions—over the next year, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll get.

Bonus: here are 20 things that will ensure your failure as a public speaker.

1. Do what everyone else is doing.

2. Wait until you’re overqualified.

3. Wait until you write your first book.

4. Listen to what everyone else says about why you can’t do it.

5. Join Toastmasters, NSA, the Kiwanis Club, Better Business Bureau and Key Club and start volunteering your time immediately.

6. Pick a topic you know nothing about.

7. Pick a topic you have aren’t passionate about.

8. Pick a topic that only five people in the world care about.

9. Try to use as many large words as you can when you speak – the more enormously humongous the multi-syllabic choices of your verbiage the greater opportunity that the realized profundity of your presentation will escalate.

10. Be as cocky as possible while on the stage and off.

11. Have a technical rider that is at least four pages long.

12. Do not return emails or phone calls promptly.

13. Price yourself higher than everyone else in the market even if they have been speaking on the topic longer than you and have published several books on the topic.

14. Encourage family and friends to invest in and loan you money toward your new business.

15. Completely change your persona on stage compared to who you really are offstage.

16. Spend at least half of your speech selling your products from the stage.

17. Spend the other half of your speech explaining to the audience how great you are.

18. Use PowerPoint and read your speech to your audience rather than memorizing it.

19. Arrive five minutes prior to your program and leave the second it’s over without speaking to any of the people who just listened to you talk for an hour.

20. And finally, always make sure your program lasts at least 20 minutes longer than anyone expects, taking time from the next speaker and throwing the entire day’s schedule off because of your Very Important Message.

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