How to Become an Inspirational Speaker

Inspirational speakers are experts in specific fields who monetize their knowledge by giving paid speeches to audiences at various events. Keep reading to find out more about necessary skills, possible certification and salary potential. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

Inspirational speakers are hired to share their knowledge and expertise with audiences at conferences, trade shows, or specialized events held by specific organizations. Their role is to provide a new perspective on a common problem, allowing their listeners to think about a certain area of their life or work in a new way. If you have excellent presentation skills, love to stand in front of an audience, and often think about common problems from unique points of view, read the table below for more details on pursuing a career in this field.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Certification NSA (National Speakers Association) Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation
Key Skills Leadership, entrepreneurship, effective speaking
Median Salary (2019) $196.53 per hour (motivational speakers)*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) -5% (all announcers)**

Sources: *; **United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Can I Become an Inspirational Speaker?

To become a paid inspirational speaker, you need to develop both your presentation skills and education/experience in your chosen field. Beyond an undergraduate and potentially advanced degree, you should seek out opportunities to present to audiences in order to perfect your style and find your voice.

Seek out public speaking certification programs, public speaking support groups, or apply to speaking opportunities in small conferences. You can also set up a website to publish digital content such as blogs or videos. The more you develop your voice, philosophy, and perspective, the better speaker you could become; and the more likely you will be to be hired to present.

What Should I Talk About as an Inspirational Speaker?

To be in demand as an inspirational speaker, you must have a new perspective or idea that helps others solve a clear problem. This new idea should help a specific audience approach their work differently, improve their results, or increase their level of satisfaction with their life or work.

To get a clear understanding of what your speeches will be about and what their value will be to your future audiences, you need to define the problem, solution, and audience.

What problem do you help others solve? How did you come up with this solution? How do you know it works?

How Do I Find My First Opportunity as an Inspirational Speaker?

Because it is hard to get paid as an inspirational speaker without experience, you may need to demonstrate the value of your ideas by offering to speak for free to your first few clients. This could help you perfect your message, build an audience, and eventually get you noticed by future paying clients.

Search for local and national conferences in your topic of interest, find the contact information for the organizer, and write a brief email explaining what your idea is. You can also reach out to organizations in your area where your audience might be present, whether it is high schools, corporations, or universities. If you get your proposal to the right individual on staff, it will probably be read.

To get yourself on stage as often as possible, search for other opportunities to speak in your area. Wherever you are, there may be open calls to audition for speaking engagements, mentoring opportunities, and/or support groups.

How Do I Market My Services as an Inspirational Speaker?

Most inspirational speakers market themselves through two avenues: a personal website with original content and a speaker's bureau.

A speaker's bureau is an agency that connects paid speakers with potential clients, such as conferences, organizations, and other special events. A quick search online will uncover several bureaus and agencies in both your area and/or topic of interest. Most have a process for submitting yourself for consideration, whether it is by sending a resume, audition tape or both.

A personal website is a much more labor intensive but equally effective avenue for marketing your services as an inspirational speaker. Nothing will help your proposals more than a link where clients can easily access your ideas, resume, and previous speeches.

What Should I Expect to Earn as an Inspirational Speaker?

Because most inspirational speakers earn their income per engagement, instead of as employees of specific organizations, their income potential depends on their reputation, experience, and demand. According to in 2019, the hourly wage for a paid speaker can range from about $17.23 to $493.16, with a median wage of $196.53 per hour.

In annual terms, this translates to a wage that can range from $39,149 to $637,282 per year.

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