Build Your Business Through Public Speaking

It is not uncommon for business owners to get invited to make presentations, participate in panel discussions or speak at conferences. Public speaking offers a lot of benefits. It is a public relationships opportunity because it increases your visibility online and off. It establishes your expertise in a particular field and it generates leads for your business, notes Ruth Sherman, entrepreneur, speech coach and author of Speakrets The 30 Best, Most Effective, Most Overlooked Marketing And Personal Branding Essentials (Norsemen Books). Her A- list roster of clients includes Morgan, Timex, Paramount, and Versace International.

What’s more, positive publicity as an expert leads to favorable positioning in the minds of customers and investors. Take for example TED talk (Technology Entertainment and Design), even if they only watched it online.  TED was founded in 1984 and is now an annual series of global conferences. Certain speeches from TED talks endure long after they’re delivered.

[Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Visibility As A Leader]

Still in all, not everyone is a great speaker, so, here are ten tips to help you deliver an engaging speech or presentation.
1. Book a gig first. Then worry about speech, advises Sherman. Meaning don’t focus on coming up with the speech first but try to identify a speaking opportunity. High profile people and celebrities will have booking agents and speaking bureaus. So, how do you go about getting a gig? A place to go would be business and trade associations, she suggests. “They are always looking for speakers for their break-out meetings. These are not paid speaking engagements but they are great places to show what you know, network and serve an interested audience.” Also check out local business clubs since most hold monthly meetings and many hosts online webinars.

2. Create the talk. Gather information into a content journal. This can be as simple document file in Word.  Consider sharing stories about things that happened in your business or your industry or that happened to you, your clients, or to people you know. “You want your talk (speech) to be interspersed with storytelling,” Sherman says. Use humor. “You don’t have to be a comedian. But you want to be good humored about yourself. If you can tell a joke about a mistake you made and how you can now laugh about it will help to engage people even more.”

3. Practice and rehearse. “This means saying it out loud, because we all are eloquent in our heads. You may think that you have the same oratorical skills as Barak Obama. But give pause,” cautions Sherman. “It can happen if you practice and you have to practice more than you think. This is the biggest obstacle that people face because they see it as being boring and tedious. But you have to practice speaking in order to be good.”

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