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What is a motivational speaker in South Africa?

I’m Nolan Pillay, a motivational speaker in South Africa. I sometimes get asked by people, “What is a motivational speaker?”

Motivational speaker in South Africa
Company launch

I say things like motivational speakers inspire people, we are mindset igniters, we change cultures, we help people become the best version of themselves. 

On my website I’ve got words like self-development, transformational coaching, storytelling and transformational speaking.

I realised that I don’t have an exact definition of what a motivational speaker in South Africa is. 

So, I thought I’d go to the newest craze in the world: Chat GPT and see if I could get the biggest brain, and now copywriter in the world, and see what it could come up with.

The explanations sound like a textbook. Although dry, they definitely give one a good idea of what a motivational speaker in South Africa looks like.

GPT: What is a professional motivational speaker?

A professional motivational speaker is someone who delivers presentations or speeches to groups of people with the aim of inspiring, motivating, and empowering them to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

These speakers are typically experts in their field and have extensive knowledge and experience in personal development, leadership, entrepreneurship, or another area related to self-improvement. They use their personal stories, expertise, and anecdotes to connect with their audience and provide actionable insights and strategies to help them achieve success and overcome challenges.

Professional motivational speakers often work with businesses, organizations, schools, and other groups to deliver keynote speeches, workshops, or training sessions. They may also offer one-on-one coaching or consulting services to help individuals or teams achieve their goals.

Nolan Pillay, one of South Africa's top motivational speakers
Nolan Pillay, one of South Africa’s top motivational speakers

To become a professional motivational speaker, one typically needs a strong stage presence, excellent communication skills, and the ability to connect with a wide range of audiences. They should also have a deep understanding of their subject and be able to provide practical, actionable advice that people can apply to their lives.

Professional motivational speakers may have a background in fields such as psychology, coaching, or leadership development, but they can also come from a wide range of other professions, including sports, entertainment, or business. The most successful speakers often have a unique and compelling story or message that resonates with their audience and sets them apart from others in the field.

GPT: How Much Do Motivational Speakers Charge?

The fees that motivational speakers charge can vary widely depending on factors such as their level of experience, the size and type of the audience, the length and format of the presentation, and the location of the event.

According to research conducted by the National Speakers Association, the average fee for a keynote presentation by a professional motivational speaker in the United States ranges from $5,000 to $15,000, with some speakers commanding fees of $20,000 or more. However, fees can be significantly higher for celebrity speakers or those with a highly specialized expertise.

In South Africa, the fees for motivational speakers can also vary depending on the speaker’s level of experience and popularity. Some speakers may charge fees starting from R5,000 to R10,000 for a keynote presentation, while others may charge fees ranging from R50,000 to R100,000 or more.

It’s worth noting that in addition to their speaking fees, many motivational speakers may also earn income from book sales, merchandise, coaching, or consulting services related to their area of expertise.

GPT: What services do professional speakers deliver?

Professional speaker services refer to the services provided by professional speakers who specialize in delivering presentations, keynotes, and workshops at events, conferences, and meetings. These speakers are experts in their respective fields and have the ability to engage and inspire audiences through their presentations.

Nolan Pillay, best motivational speakers in South Africa
Nolan Pillay, best motivational speakers in South Africa

Here are some of the professional speaker services that are commonly provided by professional speakers:

  1. Keynote Presentations – Keynote presentations are typically delivered at the beginning of an event or conference and are designed to set the tone and inspire the audience. Professional speakers can tailor their presentations to meet the specific needs of the audience and deliver a powerful message that motivates and engages.
  2. Workshop Facilitation – Workshops are interactive sessions that allow participants to engage with the speaker and learn practical skills or strategies. Professional speakers can facilitate workshops on a range of topics, such as leadership, communication, or team building, and provide valuable insights and guidance to participants.
  3. Coaching and Consulting – Professional speakers can provide one-on-one coaching or consulting services to individuals or organizations seeking to improve their performance or achieve specific goals. These services may involve assessing strengths and weaknesses, identifying areas for improvement, and developing action plans to achieve success.
  4. Webinars and Virtual Presentations – With the increasing popularity of virtual events, professional speakers can also provide webinars and virtual presentations to reach a global audience. These presentations are designed to engage and inspire audiences in a virtual environment and provide valuable insights and guidance.
  5. Event Management and Planning – Professional speakers may also offer event management and planning services to help clients organize successful events and conferences. This may include assistance with logistics, marketing, and promotion, and coordination of speakers and other event-related activities.
Motivational speaker in South Africa
Changing one million lives

Overall, professional speaker services are designed to help clients achieve their goals by providing valuable insights and guidance through keynote presentations, workshops, coaching, and consulting services. Professional speakers can tailor their services to meet the specific needs of their clients and provide a powerful and engaging experience for audiences.

GPT: What is the difference between a motivational speaker and a coach?

A motivational speaker and a coach both work to inspire and empower individuals, but there are significant differences between the two professions.

A motivational speaker typically delivers speeches, keynotes, or presentations to a large audience, with the goal of inspiring and motivating them. They may share personal stories, anecdotes, and insights to help the audience achieve success or overcome obstacles. Motivational speakers are experts in their respective fields, and their speeches are designed to be entertaining, engaging, and inspiring. They may also provide practical tips and strategies for personal and professional development.

A coach, on the other hand, typically works one-on-one or in small groups with individuals who are seeking to improve their skills or achieve specific goals. Coaches provide personalized guidance, support, and accountability to help their clients overcome obstacles and achieve success. They may use a variety of tools and techniques, such as assessments, goal-setting, and action plans, to help their clients achieve their objectives.

In summary, while both motivational speakers and coaches aim to inspire and empower individuals, their roles and methods of delivering their services are different. Motivational speakers deliver speeches to large audiences to inspire and motivate them, while coaches work with individuals or small groups to provide personalized guidance and support to help them achieve their goals.

GPT: Who are the top 10 speaker bureaus in the country?

I did this one for fun, just to see. I have only cracked a seat at the table on one speakers bureau, and it is not listed in the top 10. Of course Chat GPT is limited by the phrase Top 10. Obviously, the speakers bureaus use smart SEO people to get them the rankings for Top 10. So, if a bot can be subjective, then this one is subjective.

Speaker bureaus are organizations that represent and manage professional speakers, helping them to find speaking engagements and negotiate fees. In South Africa, there are several reputable speaker bureaus that connect clients with top motivational speakers, business experts, and thought leaders. Here are 10 of the most prominent speaker bureaus in South Africa:

  1. The Speakers Agency – The Speakers Agency is a well-established bureau that represents a diverse range of speakers from business leaders to sports personalities and celebrities.
  2. Motivational Speakers SA – Motivational Speakers SA has a comprehensive roster of speakers that specialize in a wide range of topics including leadership, personal development, and sales.
  3. Speakers Inc – Speakers Inc has a team of experienced consultants who work with clients to find the right speaker for their event, including top business leaders, industry experts, and motivational speakers.
  4. Famous Faces – Famous Faces represents some of the most well-known celebrities, athletes, and TV personalities in South Africa, who are available for speaking engagements and appearances.
  5. Conférence Speakers – Conférence Speakers represents a diverse range of speakers from business leaders to entertainers, with expertise in areas such as innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing.
  6. African Speakers & Artists – African Speakers & Artists represents speakers and performers from across Africa, with expertise in areas such as leadership, education, and social entrepreneurship.
  7. Chartwell Speakers – Chartwell Speakers is a global speaker bureau that has a strong presence in South Africa, representing top business leaders, politicians, and thought leaders from around the world.
  8. Platinum Speakers – Platinum Speakers represents a wide range of speakers from business leaders to celebrities, with expertise in areas such as motivation, teamwork, and marketing.
  9. Speakers Corner – Speakers Corner is a global bureau with a strong presence in South Africa, representing top motivational speakers, sports personalities, and business experts.
  10. Creative Leadership Solutions – Creative Leadership Solutions represents speakers and trainers who specialize in leadership development, innovation, and change management, and is known for its innovative approach to speaker selection and engagement.

These speaker bureaus represent some of the best motivational speakers in South Africa, and can help you find the perfect speaker for your event, conference, or workshop.

GPT: Tell me about Nolan Pillay, motivational speaker?

Motivational speaker in South Africa

Tried my name for fun, and added in the words, motivational speaker. Looks like I have work to do 😉

I am not familiar with Nolan Pillay, as there may be many individuals with that name. However, it is possible that Nolan Pillay is a motivational speaker based in South Africa or another region. Without additional context or information, it is difficult for me to provide more details.

That was a bit of fun, wasn’t it?

If you are a motivational speaker in South Africa, you’ll want to read the following books to give you an advantage.

The Millionaire Messenger – Brendon Buchard

You’re not a professional speaker. In South Africa there are less than a dozen motivational speakers who solely make their living out of keynoting. For most of us, we need to diversify our offering. I like to say that we are subject matter experts teaching others how to become the best versions of themselves. We get our teachings across in many forms. Brendon Buchard speaks to this.

Here are his six ways to build your expert knowledge business.

  1. You need to have one signature keynote address
  2. You should add training to your offering
  3. Write a book on your subject matter
  4. Be open to coaching people one-on-one or in groups
  5. Consult organisations. Some need more than a keynote or day’s training to sort their challenges out
  6. Develop a product that can add value to your training, keynote, coaching and consulting

You can find The Millionaire Messenger on Amazon.

The Wealthy Speaker 3.0

Your Recipe For Building The Speaking Business Of Your DreamsReady, Aim, Launch … the Business of Your Dreams!

Jane Atkinson has always delivered – valuable experience, purposeful strategies, effective tools, and indispensable advice. The Wealthy Speaker 3.0 is no exception. 

What you loved about The Wealthy Speaker 2.0 is still here – the targeted coach’s questions, helpful tips from the masters, and inspiring real-life flashpoint stories. But this thoroughly updated and completely revised edition brings you a new recipe:

  • Ready – will help you get crystal clear on what you’re selling, your ideal audience, and your fees.
  • Aim – spotlights marketing that includes an epic presentation combined with an effective website.
  • Launch – is where you’ll roll out to your target audience. This is the “show me the money” stage! 

This book is what Dottie Walters’, Speak bnd Grow Rich was in its day (circa. 1997): the speaker’s bible. And, Speak and Grow Rich is evergreen. The tips, tactics and strategies are still valid today.

I would definitely say that The Wealth Speaker 3.0 is today’s speaker bible.

You can find it on Jane Atkinson’s website.


Whether you call yourself a motivational speaker in South Africa or an inspirational speaker, or a conference speaker. These monikers mean nothing unless you can deliver.

Be passionate. Become a master of your craft. Find the audience that you should be serving. They need to hear you.