(Say aloud in an inspiring tone:) Looking to make ridiculous amount of money by 'inspiring' people with bullshit they'll forget a week from now? Yes? Then follow these 15 easy steps and you can call yourself a motivational speaker.
- Carefully choose an arsenal of quotes which seem to be incredibly deep but which actually either don't mean anything or are just plain common sense.
- Mention how you don't have enough time to really get to the meat of what you're talking about, but how you can cover all of this in your intensive week long course.
- Learn a bit about the brain / neuroplasticity / simple psychology and throw them in as scientific justification for what you're saying.
- Show a TED video. Pause dramatically afterwards and look inspired / moved / thoughtful.
- Give your audience little activities to do to which you predict the inevitable outcome. During feedback, hold your chin thoughtfully and then reveal what it all means.
- Casually name-drop the important people who have attended your seminars and talks (however unwillingly). You can include these people even if they where only coincidentally in the same building as you were. Always either call them CEOs or 'thought leaders' – no one really cares what their real job titles are. And, of course, a celebrity is always a 'star' no matter how minor.
- A little bit of emotional blackmail never hurts. Tell them how you survived almost having cancer or that time you stoically got over missing an accident by mere seconds or even that time someone you vaguely know was almost nearly tragically taken from you.
- Pause frequently and look pleased with what you've just said and nod. This will make the audience think that you actually have said something meaningful. And people love imitating nods.
- Make up a few words and trademark them. Carefully explain how your word is different from what anyone else on the speaking circuit says. A few examples: visioneering, inspirativity, leadervation, passionship, questioneering, and so on.
- Misrepresent a few scientific studies to fit what you're saying. Be careful to be a bit vague on the specifics.
- Reduce complex ideas to simple idiotic idioms such as 'our expectations determine our outcomes' or 'our habits are our prison-keepers'. (You may steal these directly from anywhere you like so long as you're not videoing and selling this particular gig.)
- Design activities in which participants can inadvertently create a metaphor which describes themselves – and then proceed to tell them what it all means.
- Say 'we' a lot (even though you know you have nothing in common with the bunch of losers in front of you).
- Make sure that you use words like: spiritual, essence, love, creativity, passion, inspiration, growth, development, innovation, leadership and bravery. Say some of these in a very serious, conspiratorial stage whisper.
- Make up something you can brag about doing in the future. Writing a book, conquering a mountain, breaking a record – it doesn't really matter. (Obviously you have no intention of doing this any time in the future, but who's going to know, right?) Squeeze out what you have actually done until it is absolutely bone dry.
Oh, and one more:
Be sure to talk for so long that people give you a rousing round of applause when you're done – mostly out of sheer relief.