Motivational enterprises, from seminars and workshops to self-help sections in bookstores, are all around. For those who have inspirational stories to share or simply feel the need to share their passion, motivational speaking can be a viable career path.
So, how does one get into the motivational speaking business? For some, it's a matter of loving the feeling they get when they connect with an audience.
"Back in 2008, I was asked to talk [to] a small group for the first time about something," Brian Quebengco, part-time entrepreneurial psychology professor at De La Salle University and motivational speaker on entrepreneurship and leadership, said in an interview. "After the talk, I felt so great! ... I want[ed] to have that same feeling again. And that's how I started."
Once bitten by the motivational speaking bug, Mr. Quebengco grabbed every opportunity he could to speak in front of people. "It helps that you actively look for gigs," he said.
While some of the more popular motivational speakers are backed by companies, there are also independents who make themselves known via word of mouth and referrals.
Motivational speakers have their discrete areas of expertise, which can help them find the ideal audiences for their talks. The most popular motivational niches in the Philippines are leadership, management, marketing, and advertising.
There can be overlap among speakers in different niches, especially in leadership. "Almost all of us have the same lingo," Mr. Quebengco said. Thus, speakers distinguish their talks by adopting different focuses. For example, the DLSU prof focuses his talks on strengths psychology, which centers on what's best about people.
Many various companies avail of the services of motivational speakers for their employees. According to Mr. Quebengco, these firms need tangible, lasting results from talks. Mvhvotivational effects on employees must not wear out after a short period of time. "When you engage a company, there has to be an element of continuity — how can they use the motivation you just shared with their employees and apply it at a performance level?"
How else can someone looking into a career in motivational speaking succeed? The key, according to Mr. Quebengco, is passion, something the speaker is passionate about that they can share with others. "Even with all the best speaking techniques and skills, if the premise is not something you're passionate or knowledgeable about, then it's nothing," he said.
The next step is becoming comfortable in front of an audience. Some motivational speakers ask their friends and family to act as test audiences in the beginning, to give feedback on a presentation so that the speaker can tweak his or her speech and "find out if they're actually interesting enough to be in motivational speaking."
Once the aspiring motivational speaker gains more confidence in his speaking skills, he should make contact with relevant people in the industry he wants to speak about. This way, he can get a foothold in his field of interest. "If you do a good job of connecting to people, they'll recommend you and keep on asking you back," Mr. Quebengco said.
New speakers should also develop their own speaking style and tweak it as they progress. "There are things we all need to do onstage, but there's an element where you incorporate your own style and let yourself flow," Mr. Quebengco said. "You can learn from other speakers' techniques... but the key is really finding your own style."
Some speakers meticulously prepare, while some are more extemporaneous. Either way, the prevailing mood of the audience may require a speaker to change her initial approach completely. "I'm assuming that for most motivational speakers who are very experienced, they can [sense what the audience is feeling].... You may have to change your outline, or do something spontaneous," Mr. Quebengco said.
Sponging up new knowledge is another key; it's best if speakers have the most updated information, relevant to their topics and audiences.
After all the preparation and practice, how will the fledgling motivational speaker know if he's succeeding in the field? "If you're a motivational speaker and you get offstage and no one comes up to you, you did a bad job!" Mr. Quebengco said.
"But even if just one person comes up to you and thanks you, that makes your day. All you need to do is make a difference in one person's life, and your job is done."- Eush Tayco
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