by Pam Lawhorne
Public speaking can be one of the most powerful avenues for bringing in traffic, deals and a powerful reputation for your growing business. Why is public speaking so high impact? How can you find places to speak? How do you structure business deals with people who have audiences? These are some of the questions we’ll explore in this article.
The Potential Impact Of Public Speaking on Your Business
Anyone who’s heard you speak in person is a candidate for being a loyal customer. Furthermore, if you made a strong impression, influential business people may also invite you for business deals.
There’s something almost magical that happens when someone steps on stage. They’re automatically branded “The Expert.” People look at you with an air of authority and deference.
If you use this opportunity to demonstrate skill, knowledge and expertise, you’ll build a level of credibility that’s hard to rival through online newsletters or even one on one interactions.
You’ll be able to speak to larger and larger crowds, building a more and more solid reputation, getting more traffic and more business deals.
Getting Your First Few Speaking Gigs
The first and perhaps best place to start speaking is at Toastmasters. Toastmasters is an international organization with groups from as small as four people to as large as 100+, giving all its members the opportunity to learn how to speak in public.
You’ll learn skills like how to prepare a presentation, how to research in-depth facts, how to use your body and voice, how to use comedy and how to improvise on stage.
Once you have a fair bit of speaking experience under your belt, then proceed to the “small speaking circuit” first.
This is basically the local groups and meet-ups in your area. Look on Meetup for meet-ups related to your industry and meet their organizers. See if you can help out by offering your expertise. Also look into speaking at your local Chamber of Commerce.
Finding Larger Audiences to Speak To
How do you speak at conferences? Seminars? Larger audiences? Remember that conference organizers need good speakers and spend a considerable amount of time hunting down these speakers.
The trick is to start building relationships with as many influential people in your space as possible. Do this by attending conferences and seminars and deliberately meeting people who speak at conferences or have large email lists.
Also, if you have a clear offer for speakers, that can help. For example, if you sell a product or workshop and you’re willing to split profits 40%, that can go a long way towards convincing people with audiences to let you speak.
Before you have a solid reputation, some speakers may want to see a video or two of you on stage before letting you speak on their stage. They basically want to make sure you know how to speak before putting their reputation on the line for you.
If you don’t have a video like this, just have a friend film you speaking at a Toastmasters meeting and put it on YouTube.
To recap, build your speaking skills by speaking at Toastmasters, then start out in your local circuit through meet-ups and your chamber of commerce. Then, build your relationships and reputation and gradually work your way up to larger and larger audiences. The influence, traffic and reputation that you’ll build this way can completely revolutionize your business.