Public speaking is a crucial tool for small business owners who wish to promote their products and services.
Speaking in front of large crowds will let the audience know you are knowledgeable within your field, according to National Federation of Independent Businesses. It can also provide a forum for individuals to approach you, and learn more about your business. Speaking engagements are important for a number of reasons – they are a public display of your confidence as an owner, they're a great venue for public relations and they often serve as endorsements from respected bodies.
"Each presentation gains me business because with a presenting nonprofit or organization 'vetting' me, attendees have confidence in me as a professional. Their confidence in the organization transfers to me and I have an audience interested to learn what I have to share," Cheryl Smithem, of Strategic Marketing & Charleston PR, told the federation.
In order to learn more about how to improve your public speaking skills, read the guidelines below:
1. Build hype around the event you're speaking at
Often conference organizers would love for you to promote the event you're speaking at, Entrepreneur explained. There are a number of ways you can easily do this. For instance, you could write a blog post about the event and then ask that it be shared on social media. Also, check if the conference has a list of press contacts that you can utilize in order to promote your speaking slot through interviews, testimonials or multimedia coverage. You could even try to begin a hashtag campaign on Twitter that revolves around the upcoming event.
2. We're talking about practice
Practice is essential in order to strengthen the reputation of your business through public speaking engagements, according to HomeCare Magazine. Memorize even the tiniest details of your speech, and perform it in front of audiences of your peers in order to guarantee that you are prepared prior to the event. Slipping up during a speech is an easy thing to do, and practicing plenty before your engagement will ensure that you don't make any mistakes. Delivering the perfect speech consists of plenty of hard work and dedication.
3. Hint that you would like some promotion
From the beginning, provide a Twitter handle – or another way to access your business through social media – in order to signal to the audience that you would like them to tweet about the speech you're about give, Entrepreneur noted. Twitter will act as a megaphone, delivering your speech to people all over the world. You can track the Twitter conversation about your speech through applications such as Tweetreach. Adding a Twitter handle will also help brand the presentation as your own. Making sure that the content of your speech is attributed to you will ensure that the message you convey remains after the event is over.
4. Involve your audience in the speech
Having your audience engage with you as you're speaking is a great way to build connections with the individuals at the event, according to HomeCare Magazine. Have the people listening to your speech ask questions and contribute new ideas to the dialog. The publication recommended having individuals stand up, introduce themselves to the audience and share a few ideas of their own. Also inform those listening why this topic is so important to you, and why you are sharing the message with the attendees. If you own a financial services company, explaining the importance of financial plans to your audience. Let them know what you care about and why.
Using these tips will improve your public speaking, and serve as a PR tool for your small business. Not sure? Listen to what Diana Booher, of Booher Consultants, told the NFIB:
"Speaking engagements have been my main marketing tool for the past 30 years," she said. "I speak between 30 and 70 days every year, and those speeches generate all our follow-on business for my consultants group. Speaking has many benefits: It gives name recognition; opens the door for those lower in an organization to get appointments; provides a "teaser" of what your company can offer; and is a differentiator from competitors."