Motivational speaking is a profession full of hits and misses. Sometimes, public speaking skills are not enough to help an aspiring speaker find success in this business. It can simply be a case of lack of charisma or wrong beliefs about the profession and practices involved.
In this article, we list down the five most popular motivational speaking myths that can hurt your chances of establishing a successful career in this industry.
1. Myth: Being a good public speaker makes you a good motivational speaker.
Fact: Being a good public speaker only gives you good foundation for motivational speaking. Public speaking is about the techniques and abilities involved in becoming a compelling and engaging speaker. The topic tackled by public speakers can be anything under the sun for as long as the speaker makes a point. It can either be informative, entertaining, persuasive, unconventionally controversial, or all of them.
On the other hand, motivational speaking is about the core messages and connection that the speaker makes to the audience. It is about the effect of the speaker to the audience and not merely about the speaker’s way of delivering a speech. Sometimes, even the most unconventional people can become successful motivational speakers, like in the case of Sarah Palin and Eric Thomas. At the end of the day, what’s important in motivational speaking is to inspire and change people’s lives.
We help aspiring public speakers to specialize in a niche whose main goal is to inspire and change people’s lives. We help public speakers inspire, not just to speak clearly and professionally but also to transform them into motivational speakers.
2. Myth: More audience means more income.
Fact: More audience only means bigger market to tap. You still have to concentrate on a lucrative niche and carefully plan your income streams.
What we have learned here through the years is that not everyone in the audience actually listens and pays attention to what you have to say. Some people in the audience are only there for reasons that do not include you.
To really earn from your audience, you have to narrow them down and identify the ones that are interested in your specialty and the ones that truly need help. These are the ones that you can convert into a fan base that will follow you wherever you go and will buy whatever you sell.
Narrowing down your audience depends on your niche. For instance, the late Zig Ziglar specialized in business and Christian values while Tony Robbins specializes in career growth and leadership.
3. Myth: Becoming a motivational speaker is a profession.
Fact: Becoming a motivational speaker is becoming an advocate and businessman at the same time. We have been telling aspiring motivational speakers that entering the business is not only for the sake of sustaining a source of living. It is about promoting an advocacy that can change the lives of many. At the same time, a motivational speaker has to be fulfilled, both emotionally and financially, for him to keep his “profession,” which at times is expensive to maintain.
An aspiring motivational speaker needs to love his profession, but his profession will not last if he does not have genuine love for his advocacy.
4. Myth: Famous motivational speakers get rich by regularly speaking in large events.
Fact: Although speaking engagements in seminars and conferences contribute a lot to famous speakers’ income, their biggest source of income still come from their merchandize.
The revenue that producers earn from selling tickets is usually just enough to cover all the expenses and pay the speaker’s honorarium. This is why producers look for sponsors who would pay advertising and marketing fees.
On the part of motivational speakers, their honorarium largely depends on their popularity. Sometimes though, that is still not enough to cover the expenses of promoting their service and hiring a whole team, including agents and assistants. This is where the profit from selling merchandize enters the picture.
Famous motivational speaker Tony Robbins reached over 50 million people all over the world not only by speaking but by selling books as well. Most of Zig Ziglar’s wealth also came from the royalties of his bestselling books. There are also some speakers who became more famous as writers than as speakers, such as Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.
We cannot overemphasize enough how important reaching people through live events is. However, you should not close other doors if they lead to bigger opportunities to not only earn more but also reach more people just like how many famous speakers have done in the past.
5. Myth: Motivational speaking is a cheap way to become famous and earn a lot of money.
Fact: Motivational speaking may not need a lot of capital when you specialize in free marketing. However, more often than not, promoting this type of service is expensive and time consuming.
Some speakers find success in motivational speaking because they have already succeeded in other fields, such as publishing, show business, and corporate, and have already established connections with other influential people. However, if you are starting from scratch without any connections and experience in marketing, motivational speaking can be a very expensive venture.
Many speakers hire agents and their own marketing team just to get a head start. Add to this the need for publicity and advertising cost.