Talking The Talk

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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 to find a chapter near you.

Another helpful resource is Great Speaking E-zine (, 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., a Website which markets electronic career-choice guides, offers an e-book called The Guide to Becoming a Motivational Speaker ( 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.