Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Public Speaking to Boost Your Business
By Victoria Munro
Public speaking can be an excellent
form of free PR and an effective marketing tool. Speaking
in front of groups gives you exposure to potential clients
and enhances your credibility as an expert in your field—and
people like to buy from experts. Below are some tips
to help you step out and use speaking to grow your business.
your ideal audience. Research professional associations
and industry meetings your target clients are likely
to attend. Service clubs are often looking for speakers,
and their members might be good clients for you. Get
names of program chairpeople and call to ask if you
can speak to their group.
Make your message meaningful.
Talk about what you know—topics you’re passionate
about. Provide valuable information that will really
help your audience. Perhaps pinpoint your target clients’
three biggest problems and write a speech about how
to solve each of them. Aim to give practical tips—preferably
ones they can implement right away. Remember to include a clear call to action. Don’t
use your talk to give a sales pitch for your services
Be crystal clear. Know
what you plan to say. Start with a simple outline based
on your main points—ideally, no more than three.
This makes it easy for your audience (and you) to remember.
State your points at the beginning, repeat them throughout
your presentation and use them to recap at the end.
Keep their attention. Make
your talk interesting and memorable. Illustrate
each of your points with examples and stories your listeners
can relate to. Statistics can be powerful to back up
what you say, but keep them relevant and don’t
bore your audience with too many.
Practice your presentation.
Become so familiar with your material that you don’t
need to rely on notes and can step away from the podium.
Be natural and speak from your heart. Make eye contact
with several members of the audience. Never
read your speech. Be sure to stay within the time limit
set by your host.
Look the part. Be well
groomed and appropriately dressed for your audience.
Ideally, dress like but slightly more formally than
Have helpful handouts
your audience can take away listing the main points
of your presentation. Include space for them to write
notes and your contact information. Proof your handout
carefully, and have someone else look it over to ensure
there are no typos and that it represents you well.
Arrive early and become
familiar with the room, the PA system, and meet and
mingle as people arrive. If you’re using a projector,
give time for set up and testing.
Be prepared for questions.
If you want your audience to interrupt you with questions,
tell them. If you plan a question-and-answer time at
the end, let them know this at the beginning and suggest
that they make notes of questions to ask later. Then
be sure to allow enough time for questions.
Fine-tune your speaking skills:
read books, take a course, join Toastmasters International
or hire a speech coach. Start with small low-risk groups.
A major marketing campaign may not be in your budget,
but speaking is a great way to get your message out
to prospective clients. It will take some of your time
and energy, but will set you apart as an authority in
your field and it’s
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
businesses. To receive FREE business success articles
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