Motivational Speakers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Motivational speakers should have a high school diploma at the very least. Obvious class choices should include English and speech, but drama, foreign language, and computer classes would also be useful. Depending on what topic you wish to speak on, you could also take classes in business, history, science, or math—practically any area about which you feel passionately.

Postsecondary Training

A communications degree, though not required, would be useful for a job in public speaking. Advanced classes in speech, writing, and English will help you hone your communication skills and make you a stronger, more confident speaker. Again, depending on your specialty, you could also major in business, finance, political science, or other subject areas, but be sure to take communications classes on the side.

Other Education or Training

The National Speakers Association and the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers provide continuing education opportunities at their annual conferences. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

To increase their credibility and marketing appeal, many motivational speakers seek certification to demonstrate their skills and experience. The National Speakers Association offers the certified speaking professional (CSP) designation to professional speakers with many years of experience making money from speeches. Applicants must meet high standards, including meeting certain educational requirements, having five years of public speaking experience, giving at least 250 paid presentations, working with a specified number of different clients, and earning a minimum gross speaking income.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Any experience you can obtain giving speeches—at school events, community meetings, etc.—will be useful.

Motivational speakers must be very confident in order to be able to speak in front of an audience. Besides being good communicators, speakers need to be able to connect with their listeners on a personal level. They should be compassionate and understanding and maintain a positive outlook on life. To be able to motivate and inspire others, they must be motivated and inspiring themselves! For their stories to be believable, speakers have to be honest about their experiences and not be afraid to share sometimes vulnerable moments in order to get their message across.