For some people, speaking in front of a large audience is a scary experience but the benefits for your business and your profile will far outweigh your fears.
Public speaking is an effective way of positioning yourself as an expert in your field and building your profile. This can lead to a range of new opportunities for your business and generate an increase in sales and new customers.
Before dismissing public speaking as your biggest nightmare, think about the following benefits for your profile and your business.
Position yourself as an expert
Speaking to an audience gives you automatic credibility on your subject matter. By honing your presentation skills and presenting at multiple events related to your field, you will become well known in your industry and soon people will be contacting you to speak at their events.
Reach your target audience
Being a speaker at niche events such as industry conferences or associations allows you to access a specific audience. This means you could be speaking directly to your target market who will be interested in your business or services. This can then lead to new customers and sales.
Promote your business and services
When speaking at an event, you can include case studies or examples from your business in your presentation. This will highlight what you do and help to build your brand awareness with the audience. However, you should never be overly promotional or talk about your business too much.
You should also consider opportunities to further promote yourself at the event, such as supplying your bio for the event website, including your marketing material in any gift bags on the day, and also giving away plenty of business cards.
Events are a great opportunity to network with other speakers and attendees. Often members of the audience will be eager to talk to you after your presentation. This is a great time to get their details and determine if they would be interested in your business or services.
Here are some tips to help you get started with public speaking:
1. You don’t have to be a professional speaker
You don’t have to be a professional speaker to be able to present at events. Anyone with expert knowledge, and the ability to speak clearly and with an engaging presence on stage, can be a speaker. If you feel you don’t have these qualities then you can get public speaking training from a number of organizations. When applying to speak at an event you will need to provide them with previous speaking experience. Start by attending small events to build up your experience and also your confidence.
2. Pick your area of expertise
Think about the area of expertise you want to build your profile in. This area is usually related to your profession to enable you to promote your business. For example, if you work in a bank and look after small business banking, then you could be seen as an expert in small business banking. Keep in mind you need to have a high level of knowledge about your particular topic.
3. Where to speak
Think about the events you want to speak at and which events your target audience will attend. Choose events related to your area of expertise and events attended by potential customers. Start by attending events as a guest to determine if they are appropriate to speak at. Also, think about joining business or networking groups that have regular guest speakers. These organizations are usually happy to use their members before asking non-members.
When you start applying to present at an event, you may not be accepted straight away, but don’t give up. Keep trying and building up your speaking experience at small networking events.
Hopefully, the benefits of public speaking will help you to push aside your fears and start building your profile as an expert in your industry.
Catriona Pollard is the director of specialist PR and social media strategy firm CP Communications.