Speaking at events attended by your best prospects will provide you with instant credibility and create immediate new business opportunities.
Public speaking is an excellent tactic for business development, particularly for small to midsize agency owners. Having the opportunity to speak in front of a highly targeted, interested group of prospects is the most effective form of lead generation.
Public speaking is an essential component to my business development program
I have been the keynote speaker for more than 100 events in the U.S., Canada and in the UK, speaking on topics related to leadership, business development, and social media. I’ve been hired as a keynote, conference speaker for numerous organizations including: The 4A’s, AAF, ASM, BMA, ICA Canada, Magnet Global Network, Mirren, PRSA, Taan, The Network One (London) and Worldwide Partners. These events are attended by my best prospective clients.
I spoke recently at a small AAF Chapter luncheon and came away from that meeting with a new client. This kind of response is typical. That’s why my personal marketing is designed to facilitate more opportunities to speak.
There are also many, personal benefits, received from public speaking:
- It helps you to think critically
- It provides you with self-confidence and poise
- It provides the ability to speak fluently and coherently
- It makes you a better motivator
- It provides knowledge
- It will boost your reputation and influence
- It improves your ability to connect with people on an emotional level
- It helps you to be more comfortable around people
- It forces you to be disciplined and prepared
- It improves your body language
- It allows you to establish an instant relationship with your audience
- It makes you a better story-teller
- It establishes you as a leader
Public speaking is worth your time just for the personal benefits it provides. That it is also a great tactic to fuel new business makes it even more attractive to add to your agency’s marketing mix. Whether it’s done in person or through a webinar, it is a great way to establish your credibility and create a consistent pipeline of leads.
But, it should be understood that you need to make a good presentation.
Here are a some presentation tips from my 30 plus years of public speaking:
- Focus on your audience. Don’t sell. Help them, entertain them, inform them and inspire them.
- Prepare and rehearse your presentation. Rehearse to the point that your presentation comes across as spontaneous.
- Make eye contact and be engaging. It’s more important to keep your audience’s focus on you than on a screen.
- Make your session interactive with your audience. Use listening notes. Facilitate questions.
- Get a look at the presentation room as soon after you arrive as possible. It always helps to be aware of your surroundings and adjust your presentation accordingly.
- Set-up your equipment as early as possible before your presentation time so that you can work out any bugs without being stressed.
- Have a back-up plan if you have technical issues. I always upload a copy of my presentation to an online source, I have also downloaded it to a thumb-drive to make sure I have all my adapters, plugins, etc.
- Don’t just be a presenter, be a participant. If at all possible, spend time in other conference sessions. Be part of the conference community.
- Provide enlightening personal stories and illustrations.
- If you use PowerPoint or Keynote, don’t read the slides! Instead use them to illustrate your points. Use nice photos or simple graphics without the text as much as possible.
Speaking only works as a new business tactic if you are good at it. As long as I’ve been doing this, I always look for ways to improve. I want to be a continuous student of the art of public speaking.
Here are some of my favorite books on speaking that I recommend for you to read:
- Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
- The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
- STORY: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting
- The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business
- Winning the Story Wars
- Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds
- The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides