What Makes a Motivational Speaker Successful

  1. So you would like to be a keynote speaker or trainer because speaking will be your passion? But you’re confused how you can do it…. below are great tips.

    The first task is to figure out what is your topic? What is your brand? Where would you add value to your audience? Of course, and also importantly, who’s your audience?

    Among the best places to begin with as a speaker is in your physical location. There are lots of service clubs and organizations who are always interested in a speaker to fill in some time on their agenda.

    In this manner, whether you’re an entertainer, keynote speaker or motivational speaker, it will be easy to get some feedback in a friendly environment.

    Every speaker occasionally experiences the audience that really does not want to be there. Typically you are likely to “break the ice with the audience very early in the talk but occasionally, it ceases to happen and you know the next 45 minutes might be torture.

    What you should understand and take from that lesson is it is not only you as a speaker or trainer that has a painful 45 minute experience. Also, it is the meeting planner who is struggling to confirm your validity for next years meeting!

    Who is the buyer?

    It is very important remember that the audience you are speaking with is not your client. It is the meeting or event planner that’s your client. They, typically are most tense in the first two to three minutes of a presentation to find out if you can get the listeners to “lean in”. If you fail to break the ice early with the audience the meeting planner knows they’ll be hearing negative comments.

    As a result, the structure of a keynote is essential. 

    There are various “recipes” that were created and many very talented Canadian Speakers who use recipes to create their keynotes but generally, this is a fairly standard pattern to follow:

    Introduce the audience to a funny or emotional story, right off the start line. 
    Introduction to what you will guide them
    Take the first point – relate a story to them of how the first point is so important… some sort of crash and burn story which helps you suggest to them what you learned from the experience (or third party). Then point out the solution. In this manner, you get their attention with a relatable story and you let them have solution. Wrap up that phase of the discussion with some ideas as to what benefits they are going to derive from using your unique solution in their lives.
    Rinse and repeat part 3 with your other points, summarizing the points to improve after each session.
    Sell yourself – books, other meetings etc
    Close with a summary of all they already have learned and then give them one amazing take away story that they may never forget you for. An unforgettable joke is usually a good way to close a keynote.

    There you have it. A standard method to allow you as a keynote speaker to rock the world.

    Now you have read that you may have the question in your head “Can I really do this?” The answer certainly is YES.

    Too many people in the speaker coaching world will try and get you to be someone you are not.

    In truth you simply need to become a better “YOU”. The world needs to hear your story. If we really take a moment and think about it we should all have a few important stories to tell from our lives that can impact others. If we do not, then we can arrange to go out and create some stories, which is the fun part!

    The important take away from the article is that the audience is a tool you can use to impress your meeting planner, your client. If you learn to use that audience correctly, you can make them laugh, make them cry, make them think or get them to react. The bottom line is the audience needs to take something valuable away from the meeting and they need to remember you. 

    If you succeed in that regard you will end up an in demand trainer or speaker. You can make a career based on travel, fun and learning. 

What is a successful keynote speaker?

It’s very often the case a lot of people believe keynote speaking is a deluxe and prestigious profession.

There’s no question as an entertainer or keynote speaker you can earn a significant amount of income and become very much sought after. However, most successful speakers or entertainers spend a lot of time in airports around the world or hotels in a variety of cities.

To be able to have a career in speaking or to become a motivational speaker, you need to first be or at least be perceived to be an expert in some subject.

What we most commonly see as a successful keynote speaker is a person who has achieved a very high standing in their profession or sport. It is not however the only way to become a successful motivational speaker.

The art of speaking or indeed being a trainer is centred around your capability to retain the focus of your audience. It is what most speakers refer to as the skills to get your audience to lean in.

So What has Changed?


Perhaps the revolution in the speaking industry has been the evolution of TED talks. Even though many keynote speakers and entertainers focus on delivering content over a 45 minute to one hour period, TED forces you to deliver an impactful message in less than 18 minutes.

The lesson for any speaker relates to the capability for the audience to focus over a extended period of time.

It must be noted that while each TED talk is of a shorter duration, the audience is able to maintain focus over several sessions in the same evening.

The lesson therefore to anybody desiring to be a trainer or speaker quite simply must learn to keep your audience engaged over larger spans of time using various tools like humour, audience participation or emotion. Essentially you have to learn to be a number of personalities in the same talk.

Many organizations such as toastmasters concentrate on training people to become speakers, however in many examples the training is somewhat old school. While it is valuable to know the tools of the trade, just like many professions, times have changed and we never have necessarily responded to the change. 

An excellent example is within the writing industry. Where books were previously a minimum of 80,000 words, the evolution of the eBook industry has produced a demand for 8000 word ebooks. 

The same is true in speaking where today we worry less with regards to the “umm’s, err’s or “like’s” in a sentence and much more with regard to the ability for the speaker to entertain us and hold us captive to their narrative. 

Canada is one country that provides many high quality entertainers and speakers. To be a canadian speaker you can get not only the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (which has membership requirements in regards to your experience) but in addition several premium quality speaker agencies.

As you move the desire to become a speaker may focus you on a path of writing a keynote and preparing yourself for the big day, it’s also wise to be prepared to be multi-talented.

Most motivational speakers derive a significant portion of their income from selling books at their events. In addition they deliver workshops for the same audience so as to add value to their service.

In this circumstance the skills to create a book or host a workshop need to be acquired or purchased that can assist you in your career progression.

If you are excited about a career in speaking in North America, I would recommend highly you look to either the National Speakers Association in the USA or the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers in Canada. 

Once you have opened enough doors to start to get bookings, it is an extremely rewarding career and one that can be very profitable also.