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Q: People have always told me how I enlighten them and give them direction in their lives. I feel confident that I can be an excellent motivational speaker. Do you have some tips on how to get started?
–T. L. West, Kansas City, Missouri
A: Your first challenge will be to gain experience and training. There is a big difference between counseling an individual in private and standing up in public to speak before dozens, hundreds, or thousands of people — especially if you expect to get paid to do it.
First, join Toastmasters, an organization for those who want to become better communicators. Go to www.toastmasters.org to find a chapter near you.
Another helpful resource is Great Speaking E-zine (www.antion.com), a free electronic magazine distributed via e-mail twice a month. Great Speaking covers such topics as presentation skills and how to make money as a speaker.
Fabjob.com, a Website which markets electronic career-choice guides, offers an e-book called The Fabjob.com Guide to Becoming a Motivational Speaker (www.fabjob.com/ speaker.asp) for $39.95 via e-mail or for $44.95 (plus $5 for shipping and handling) on CD-ROM.
Finally, read “Brand Yourself,” the cover story of the March 2002 issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE. The article tells you how to package your skills, experiences, message, and expertise into a marketable brand. Your ability to do this will be critical to your ability to succeed as a motivational speaker.