How to Be a Motivational Speaker at Schools

Motivational speakers have found schools to be a great place to focus. This article offers tips on how a motivational speaker can specialize and appeal to this niche market.


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    Embed yourself in the world of teenagers. Learn about their pop culture and lifestyle. Read their magazines and visit the websites they frequent. To connect with teens it's critical to know what they think about and, more importantly, what they care about.
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    Draw on your own experiences as a teen. Your best source for material is your own life. While times have changed, there are still themes that are universal and timeless. Teenagers worry about social acceptance, love and dating, avoiding embarrassment, relating to authority and making the transition from childhood to adulthood. Pull them into your presentation by sharing your experiences with these themes.
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    Avoid talking down to them. They're scolded and lectured at all day long. You'll win more credibility through vulnerability and humility.
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    Be genuine. Share messages you truly believe and avoid cliches. You're not one of them, so avoid talking or dressing like them unless that is a true expression of your sensibility.
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    Communicate with the school in advance about what's happening on campus. If there's an upcoming prom, a recent championship or anything else that's on the students' minds, knowing this in advance will allow you to connect your material to their lives.
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    Market yourself to activity directors or student council advisors. These are the adults who plan assemblies and bring in speakers.
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    Price yourself for the market. Schools have smaller budgets than companies. You're going to have to work a lot harder and a lot more to make a living at schools. If you're only in it for the money, the education market is not for you.
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    Network with other school speakers. Once a motivational speaker has spoken at a school, he can't come back for several years. But he can suggest another speaker. Or if a school calls a speaker and she's already booked, she can suggest someone else. You want these speakers to suggest you. The best way to cultivate these relationships is to find speaking opportunities for them. They'll want to return the favor.
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    Try to schedule two schools in one day. A good combination is a high school and feeder middle school. Offer both schools a discount if they share you on the same day. Offer additional discounts if they help you find other schools the days before and after.
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    Help them out by getting sponsors. These can include local businesses and vendors who do business with the school. Also contact local service organizations such as Rotary and Kiwanis. These organizations already sponsor school-based clubs who may assist you in planning your event. Offer to do a free program at their breakfast meeting the day of the assembly.
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    Offer to do a parent program. This is a great way to reinforce your message and get some exposure to working professionals. Try to schedule these for the evenings after you've done the assembly so students will tell their parents.
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    Ask for referrals. If your presentation goes well, the principal and activities director should be able to connect you with their colleagues at other schools. Also ask them to write you a testimonial letter. This will be a great marketing tool.
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    Market yourself to student organizations. If you speak at a large conference, you'll be exposed to students and advisors from multiple schools.

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