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How to Become a Corporate Speaker: Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a corporate speaker. Research the education, training information and experience required for starting a career in corporate speaking. View article »

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  • 0:04 Becoming a Corporate Speaker
  • 2:03 Step 1: Find a Topic…
  • 3:19 Step 2: Get Certified…
  • 4:19 Step 3: Gain Experience

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Video Transcript

Becoming a Corporate Speaker

So you think you might like to become a corporate speaker? Corporate speakers, sometimes referred to as motivational speakers, deliver speeches that create an impact in people's lives by driving them toward productive action. Corporate speakers urge people to stay away from detrimental habits or behaviors and inspire them to accomplish their goals and fulfill their dreams regarding their profession. Some corporate speakers are self-employed.

Local and long-distance travel can be part of the job. On-going education and training are typically required, too; this helps speakers stay up-to-date on the subjects they speak on, as well as methods of delivering talks, such as with presentation software programs or tools.

So what are the career requirements? Some corporate speakers have very little education and instead have life experiences that provide them with credibility. A specific education isn't necessarily required to become a corporate speaker, but remember: it is all about developing credibility.

Depending on the topic of interest, there might be an education program to pursue. For example, a speaker who wants to deliver motivational messages to corporate employees will likely benefit from a business degree. Taking classes on public speaking, public relations, communications, or marketing might help as well. Corporate speakers can start delivering speeches without prior experience. Sometimes it's a life experience that launches a person's career as a speaker. There are certificates public speakers can earn, and this helps to build a speaker's credibility and value.

Key skills:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Self confidence
  • Leadership skills
  • Presentation programs, such as Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Knowledge of presentation equipment

According to Tulane University, International Association of Corporate Speakers, speakers might earn $100 - $500 per engagement to start. More experienced speakers will earn $1,000 - $2,000 per speaking engagement.

Degree Level High school diploma; formal training in public speaking may be helpful
Degree Field Public relations or public speaking
Licenses and Certificates Voluntary certificates are available with multiple levels of advancement
Experience None to 3 years of experience in paid speaking engagements
Key Skills Excellent communication skills, self-confidence and leadership skills; presentation programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint; knowledge of presentation equipment
Salary (2010) $100-$500 per speaking engagement at the entry level; $1,000-$2000 or more for experienced speakers

Sources: Tulane University, International Association of Corporate Speakers (IACS), National Speakers Association (NSA), Inc. Magazine

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Mass Communication Studies
  • Speech Communications and Rhetoric

Step 1: Find a Topic of Interest

A corporate speaker examines his or her knowledge and experiences in order to choose a particular, relevant niche to focus on. An entrepreneur who has built a business empire from scratch will do well to motivate aspiring business owners. A successful surgeon who has been instrumental in saving people's lives will be able to motivate medical professionals.

Because the options are unlimited, there is no fixed, minimum amount of education necessary to compete in this field. Pursuing formal training can be useful, such as a certificate or degree program for communications or public speaking. These programs may include speech-writing classes or opportunities to address an audience and receive feedback.

Here are some tips for success:

  • Join an association for professional speakers. Associations such as the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the International Association of Corporate Speakers (IACS) provide access to resources such as training and certificate programs, seminars, speaking opportunities and networking.
  • Take a basic certificate program in corporate presentation. The presentation certificate shows competency in software and equipment used for speech presentation.

Step 2: Get Certified as a Corporate Speaker

The IACS offers a beginning corporate speaker's certificate. The initial certificate program takes 12 months to complete and is part of the Bill Gove Executive Speech Program, which is internationally recognized. This program is compared to a master's degree in corporate speaking and gives personal coaching advice and feedback to help speakers succeed.

Here are some tips for success:

  • Master your communication skills. Communication skills are essential for a corporate or motivational speaker. Speakers need to be able to relay their message to the audience clearly through verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • Take an acting course or hire an acting coach. Speakers and actors both have to interact, entertain and keep the attention of their audience. Either acting courses or an acting coach may help a speaker learn to improve on the skills needed to keep the attention of an audience and improvise a speech if it is necessary.

Step 3: Gain Experience as a Corporate Speaker

A corporate speaker can volunteer in local events and academic clubs or join an organization with like-minded individuals to practice motivational speaking. There are seminars and conferences throughout the year for various industries and agendas, and speakers can attend to deliver speeches.

Here are some tips for success:

  • Volunteer to teach a community class or speak at a local event. Depending on education, interests and experience, any type of teaching is a great opportunity to gain experience in public speaking. Community events and locations like churches can also provide ample practice for public speaking.
  • Consider the certified professional corporate speaker program offered by the IACS. This is a 24-month program offered as part of the Bill Gove Speech Workshop. This certificate is intended to help guide speakers towards paid speaking jobs.

Find an area of interest, get certified as a corporate speaker, and gain experience as a corporate speaker are three great steps to follow to make the most of a career as a corporate speaker.

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