Regular Rock Your Talk readers will have seen guest posts by my speaking coach Iain Davidson. This week, we have a guest post by Jonathan Curran, who leads Europe’s premier motivational speaking agency: Promotivate. Here, he gives us the lowdown on what it takes to become a motivational speaker.
So you’d like to be the next Tony Robbins and have millions of adoring fans who pay to listen to your every word and get people to walk barefooted across hot coals – cool eh!
There are 3 ways to become a motivational speaker:
- Do something exceptional
- Research, read and study psychology and then teach self-fulfillment to others
- Train to be a public speaker by attending groups
What is exceptional and why do people want to pay to hear you talk? If you have won Olympic medals; jumped out of a pod from 37 miles up; invented the world-wide web; built a global brand; overcome paralysis and more people are very curious to know more about you. People are eager to learn how you achieved something that they see as either impossible or a challenge beyond themselves. Motivational speakers are paid often huge sums just to point out the reality that they are normal humans who with a lot of effort achieved their goals.
Great speakers are able to not only inform audiences how they achieved success but, more importantly, they relate it to normal people doing normal everyday things. Exceptional people will all tell you that there are no short-cuts to success and that hard work is required. They’ll make it clear that they have an inbuilt ability to put obstacles behind them and seek out ways to overcome all forms of adversity that they encounter on the way.
But there are exceptions and by way of qualifying that you don’t need to break records to be a successful speaker there is no better example than the world’s most famous motivational speaker Tony Robbins. His wikipedia background states:
“Robbins was raised in a violent household by a volatile mother addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol. After she kicked him out of the house when he was 17, he worked as a door-to-door repairman. By the age of 24 he was a millionaire, trading in his Volkswagen for a Rolls-Royce.”
Robbins is a great example of someone who got to grips with himself and as his book title states, he wants people to ‘Awaken The Giant Within’. This theme is consistent with a lot of mainstream motivational speakers. Top speakers will inform you that we all have the talent within us to be successful and lead fulfilling lives, but we need to unlock the potential and stop thinking about the negative thoughts that hinder our progress and hold us back.
I’m privileged to work some of Europe’s leading motivational speakers and I take the time to understand them by attending their lectures and reading their inspirational books. I fully understand that every day is a new day with new opportunities. To become a good motivational speaker you need to know and communicate to others how they can put aside difficulties some of which can be very significant and seemingly impossible to cast aside to enable progress. Here’s a video of Mark Pollocks new cine documentary titled ‘Unbreakable’. Mark was my first speaker and 8 years later working with hundreds of other top speakers, Mark is right at the top. He has through tragedy been forced to put into practice all he has preached to others and anyone who has heard him will understand this.
Finally good speakers do need to be great communicators. Toastmasters is a global group that has a presence in cities worldwide that anyone can sign up to and attend to improve their public speaking skills. We also work with a range of professional speaking coaches whose job it is to work with speakers on their presentations and delivery.
Finally all speakers need to constantly reinvent themselves if they are to retain demand in a competitive market place. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is regarded as the world’s greatest explorer and the UK’s most in-demand inspirational speaker. Ran, at 70 years old, still seeks out new global challenges every two years. He was 65 when he summited Mt. Everest despite suffering from a weak heart condition and a fear of heights.