If you are comfortable in your field, if you are seen as an authority, then speaking engagements can be an effective way to market yourself. While many fear speaking in public, as a business owner there is often no better opportunity for exposure than getting up at that podium and sharing valuable information.
And if you are a very comfortable speaker – DO IT! Not only will you market yourself and your business as an industry leader, it also positions you as an expert. When presenting the speech, make sure the topic is on something new. Nobody wants to sit through a speaking engagement hearing something that they already know. Do your research. Find something that you know interests people, and interests you. Become an expert in it. Then go out and speak about it. Even better, tell it in the form of a story.
You can also get used to the idea of speaking in front of people by pairing up with a complimentary professional to offer smaller workshops, be a guest at someone else’s presentation – offering a short one or two slide presentation inside of their larger presentation or join a round table – where there are several “experts” on a topic answering questions delivered by a moderator.
Where to start? If you are new to public speaking start small and local. Look to your local library, your community’s business groups (if you’re in the area, join the Business Council of Westchester) and local networking groups to see if they need a speaker for an event. Or, if you’re a Stark Office Suites client, you can create and host it in a meeting room at one of our locations in the New York City or Hartford areas.
You’ll learn a few things too. While those who attend your speaking engagements stand to gain from your expertise, the insights they provide can help to enlighten your view on your business. Ask questions of your audience, they might give you an idea of how they want to be sold to, what they really need from you and what you can do to win their loyalty.