Many people either don’t consider public speaking as a marketing tool, or are daunted by the idea of standing up in front of others. And yet, like any skill, public speaking can be mastered with a structured approach and training. And as a promotional tool it can be incredibly effective. Look at the benefits of giving talks and seminars:
- Increases your reputation as a leader and expert.
- Engages with customers and builds rapport.
- Enables direct questions to be asked – and answered.
- Gets powerful and/or complex messages across quickly.
- Differentiates you from competitors.
- Can be used in several different environments – public talks, private teleseminars, business and social meetings (lunches, breakfast) and so on.
- Develops skills and confidence that could win you radio and television appearances.
SEVEN SIMPLE STEPS
Here’s summary of my seven step plan to becoming a public speaker.
1. Preparation – find your ‘passion’. Talking about something you know well is always going to be easy, especially if you’re passionate about the topic. So start there to give you the confidence you need to develop your speaking skills.
2. Create a checklist of ideas, NOT a script. Reading from a pre-written script will NEVER EVER sound good unless you’re a professional actor or presenter. And it will just look lame in a meeting or on stage. Get used to speaking from prompts and memory by creating a list of one line (or even one word) key points and then simply talking about each one.
3. Practice alone. Build your confidence and ‘hone’ your checklist so that each point ‘feeds’ off the previous one. Often recording a video or yourself and watching it back can highlight simple issues like facial expressions. Horrifying as it may feel at first, you’ll soon get used to seeing yourself on screen – and that can be a big boost. Then do it again. And again. And again.
4. Practice with a friend, family member or mentor. Gulp! Time to perform. But you need to do this to get over the first hurdle of speaking with an audience.
5. Try an interview. If you’re struggling to speak on your own, call on someone who knows a little about your business and ask them to interview you. Give them a list of simple questions or your checklist of prompts. The conversational style is far less daunting and working together can be easier and more relaxed, even fun!
6. Go online. For your first public event, go online with a seminar, or a ‘live’ broadcast on Youtube or Facebook. Being in the safe comfort of your own home or office will help with initial nerves.
7. Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner meeting. Join a local business club where each member must ‘introduce’ themselves. It’s usually a short ‘stand-up’ speech, but in a relaxed atmosphere. NB: If it’s an evening event, stay off the booze until after your turn!
8. Work with a pro. Once you’ve built some initial ideas and confidence, work with a professional speaker to develop and refine your style. They will help you with body language, pace, tone and clarity.
START THE CONVERSATION
Public speaking can be a powerful sales tool, but your talk doesn’t need to be a 60 minute sales pitch. The most effective speeches are a CONVERSATION with the audience. If you engage, educate, entertain and impress, the business will follow! Selling should be subtle (indirect references to your company, case-studies and ideas) with a sales offer towards the end or an invitation for people to contact you later. In the Effortless Marketing programme we introduce a formula for constructing the perfect talk, gently guiding listeners towards your business and then making an irrisistible offer.