This might make you break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it, but public speaking is one of the most effective ways of promoting you and your business.
You’re trying to position yourself as the expert – compared to your competitors you want to be the most knowledgeable and trustworthy, you want your customers to have you at top of their minds when they’re considering who they want to do business with.
So what better way to position yourself as a thought leader than being on stage in front of a room full of prospective clients or customers listening to you talking about issues in your industry, or how you understand what problems they are having and giving them the answers? Who do you think they’ll then go to, now that you’ve told them how to make their lives, or their business, better? That’s right, you!
But it is scary, we get that. So if you need some convincing to bite the bullet and pluck up some Dutch courage to get out there on the speaking circuit, here are some more reasons why this really is something you shouldn’t dismiss:
- It’s not expensive! Consider how many other ways you can get prospects to listen to you for 5,10,15 minutes without it costing a fortune. It’s a great way of engaging without selling to, which is what customers hate
- If you don’t speak out, how will people know who you are? If you don’t do it, then one of your competitors might get there before you, or if they are there already, then they’ll be getting in front of more of your audience than they are, so you need to counter that with some speaking gigs of your own
- It’ll boost your self-confidence. There’s nothing like embracing your fears head on, right? If you can speak confidently in a room full of 10,20,30 people then you can pretty much do anything. At least, that’s what we think anyway! You may also find that it has a knock-on effect in the way you handle situations within your day-to-day role, for example
- It should lead to more sales. That’s why you’re doing it, for sure. The more people you come in contact with, the more people know about you, the better the chance some of them will become customers
- It’ll make you appear knowledgeable (not that you aren’t) but just doing a presentation will elevate your expert status
- It’ll help you develop your knowledge. You, of course, will know what you are talking about, but will inevitably do some research whilst preparing for your speech. So you’ll find out more about what’s going on in your industry, keep yourself at the top of your game and really have your finger on the pulse
So you’re definitely convinced now, right? Next step is to get involved. Volunteer at local networking groups to begin with, the more practice you get, the better you’ll be able to hone your technique. You can also look to join associations such as Toastmasters or the Professional Speaking Association to surround yourself with like-minded people to help support you on your mission to become a public speaker.
But the best piece of advice we can give you? Just give it a go! The first attempt might not be anything to write home about, but it’ll give you an idea what’s involved, and whether or not you think it’s something you can keep doing.
So good luck!