The combination of marketing and public speaking has proven immensely successful for a great many small business owners. Standing before a “live audience” is an effective way of building greater brand awareness and impressing a whole new crop of prospective customers.
In other words, done right, marketing and public speaking is a win-win for all involved.
How does becoming a public speaker benefit a business owner?
- Public speaking demands that an individual analyze his or her proposed content and mold it in ways that emphasize clarity, originality, and concise speech. Being able to thoroughly prepare beforehand, and then making time adjustments in a presentation while standing before an audience, can enhance one’s abilities with respect to making sales calls, negotiating deals, and crafting a new, more imaginative approach to marketing.
- Public speakers project confidence and powerful self-esteem. These traits inspire trust and faith in those around them, as Upwork notes: “When you speak with more conviction, it may encourage employees, customers, and other supporters to remain passionate and dedicated to your company.”
How marketing and public speaking go together
As you embark on a public speaking venture, you’re also developing new ways to market your small business. For example, as you put together a presentation based on your unique experiences and expertise, you can identify groups that would benefit most from your efforts. Your target audience likely has a calendar of events (conferences, tradeshows, etc.). It’s up to you to locate and identify these groups and events and begin to establish your credentials as a sought-after presenter.
You also learn to tailor your speech to emphasize what’s in it for the audience, rather than making the presentation all about yourself.
“You can’t just give an hour-long sales pitch,” notes Small Biz Triage. The key is identifying a topic “that is useful for audience members, yet related to your business so that they will see you as an expert in the field.”
Other tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your public speaking gig:
- Use anecdotes or interesting personal experiences to “sneak” a mention of your business into the presentation.
- Always supply materials audience members can take away from the event. These can range from brochures and fliers to printed slides or samples of your products. Just be sure everything you provide is sufficiently branded (i.e., includes contact information and link to your website.)
- Distribute a sign-up sheet to audience members. This is a great way to gather potential new leads for sales calls. Just make sure that, in exchange for asking for peoples’ contact information, you offer an appealing incentive, such as free delivery of your company newsletter, a “how-to” sheet addressing some problem common to audience members, a prize drawing, and/or a way to get a discount on your product.
Honing your skills as a public speaker
Some individuals come to public speaking naturally. For most of us, however, this can inspire fear and an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and exposure. It doesn’t have to be that way. Keep these tips in mind as you hone your public speaking skills:
Practice! Regardless of your topic or the length of your scheduled presentation, the only way to really become good at this is through practice. Deliver your speech to a group of friends or family members. Ask them to closely evaluate specific elements, such as:
- Pace of your delivery (too fast? too slow?)
- Body language (posture, hand gestures, etc.)
- Content (how interesting is the topic, where does it fall flat)
Their constructive feedback will help you improve your presentation and move closer to the real thing.
Memorize as much as you can. It’s OK to have notes or an outline on paper in front of you as you speak. But reading from a prepared text is perhaps the biggest mistake a public speaker can make. Your hours of practice should help you be prepared to simply talk to your audience, as if you were engaged in a conversation with them.
Anticipate questions and have answers ready. Speaking of conversation, a good speech includes a brief Q&A session afterwards. As an expert, you have a good idea what questions people are likely to have. Be ready with satisfying and informative answers.
A strong public speaker helps boost awareness of his or her brand. It also makes an indelible impression on people that here is someone who knows his or her business, and might be worth exploring further when the need arises for what products or services the speaker is offering.