Public speaking – promotional benefits

Getting up in front of an audience and demonstrating your knowledge is an effective way of generating brand awareness and attracting customers.

You are seen as a subject expert. There may well be other subject experts in the room, however, you will win the lions share of any business that is forthcoming.

Publicity can be generated before, during and after a public speaking event and full advantage should be taken of this opportunity.

As soon as you have been engaged to speak, ensure that you fill in any forms or requests for information provided by the event organisers. You will need to supply professional standard photographs of yourself for print and internet use.

I have found that event organisers are grateful if you offer to write a description of your presentation, prior to the event. Ensure that this is benefit loaded. In other words, tell prospective attendees why they should come along and listen to your presentation.

Prior to the event, ask the organisers how they are handling publicity and ask to be introduced to their PR company and / or in-house PR Officer. Contact them and ask what you can do to help. Ask if there is an event hashtag and use this within your social media accounts (particularly Twitter) as this can produce a storm of comments, likes and follows. (During a long train journey returning from a public speaking event, I spent most of the time interacting with delegates via Twitter; they had attended a creative thinking for marketers event where I was the keynote speaker).

If you have a printed book, bring some copies to the presentation. If you do not have a printed book, take some of your blogs, articles and other written items and create a booklet. Use Canva to create a front cover. Send the front cover and the contents to your local print shop and ask them to print, say, 100 copies with a heavy acetate front cover and a strong cardboard back; they can spiral bind the copies for you, booklet-sized.

During your presentation, mention that you have a relevant book or booklet and hold it up. After you have spoken, sit down and pick up a copy of your book or booklet and sign it. Place it to one side. Pick up another copy and sign it. You will find that there is a queue of people who would like a copy. Pop a business card (and a postcard if you have one) inside each copy.

Talks are different to Public Speaking, which should be a paid-for activity. Talks can be delivered, for example, to networking groups or other informal gatherings for free. Do not underestimate the amount of work that it takes to prepare for and deliver a speech. This is why you should be paid, alongside the fact that you will be treated better when you have raised an invoice.

Many people would rather go to the dentist that speak in front of an audience. However, the benefits are so substantial that overcoming the fear of public speaking is well worthwhile.

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