I was recently asked if I made speaking part of my marketing strategy and the answer was a resounding YES. Fortunately, I am very comfortable in front of an audience and microphone but appreciate this is not the case for everyone.

 

Make speaking part of your marketing strategySpeaking is vital to my business, it’s a chance to show myself as the expert but more importantly provides me with a platform to connect face to face. The thrill for me is seeing those lightbulb moments in the audience, a nod from those that understand or feel what I am saying, even better want to stay connected after the event.

 

In the digital world we now live it can be all too easy to stay behind email and social media, nervous of even picking up the phone.

 

I am the business, so it makes good sense to put myself out there, to be accessible and approachable, from networking to speaking. There is no better way for me to gain the trust of potential clients than putting myself on a stage.

 

How do I get my speaking gigs?

Quite simply I am invited because I have in the past taken opportunities presented to me. However, and I am going to be honest with you, even I get nervous.  I was earlier in the year asked to open a conference at a school and was petrified. Young people are a tough audience, they don’t engage in the same way as adults and my role was to set the tone for the day while sharing my journey from school to becoming a business owner. Nerves are good, they are what keep me focused and my presentations the best they can be.

 
 
 

 
 

 

Practices makes perfect

Like anything, we are new to or not confident at ... practice makes perfect. That is practice before the event and in speaking at every opportunity that is presented. Think about it, an elevator pitch at a networking event is speaking, the more you do it the easier it becomes. As mentioned already I am fortunate in having many years in front of an audience and feel confident when presenting BUT that might not be the case for you.


My top tips for speaking

• Know your audience to ensure you are presenting in a way that resonates and that they’re able to connect with.

• Practice in advance, in front of someone if that helps.

• Wear comfortable clothes, that portray the right image and are appropriate to the event.

• Pull your shoulders back, which will improve your breathing and help you to feel more confident.

• Make a conscious effort to slow down when speaking, there's no need to rush.

• Make the most of the opportunity, show yourself as the expert while not being 'salesy'.

• Attend with a method of collecting contact details, perhaps a free hour of your time or give away a book.

 

The question I mentioned at the beginning of this blog was asked to me by Sarah Archer who interviewed me for her podcast series in The Speaking Club. You can download the episode here and others.


Finally, before I go Sarah also asked me if I had ever had a bad speaking experience or horror story to share. At the time, I couldn’t think of one but it came to me today an event where I was the 
key note speaker, probably over ten years ago now. I was so nervous my legs were shaking almost uncontrollably and on show
for all to see. The audience probably didn’t notice because they were focusing on my face and voice and that’s the point, most of the time only you will notice.