Jerry Seinfeld’s joke said it best “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”
So, why does this fear still exist given our outspoken, put it all out there society? It seems people are afraid to be judged. But, we’re all judged all the time in business, so why not use the power of Public Speaking in a way that you, your company, your brand are judged positively?
Early on, when I started my prior small business marketing consulting business, I saw that successful entrepreneurs who were on the speaking circuit had several things going for them:
- Ongoing Pipeline
I realized that this was a route I should take, and I’m delighted I did. My workshops and speaking engagements are a no-cost pipeline for me, and I love doing it.
Full disclosure: I’ve been teaching public speaking and communications university courses for 19 years. So, sure I have a bit of an advantage. But follow these tips, and you can do it too.
Seek out potential opportunities — Reach out to organizations in your local area such as Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, leads groups, and any other local business club whose membership fits your target audience. You’ll find they’re surprisingly open-minded and are always seeking guest speakers. Build on the opportunities — once you get a few under your belt, the rest will flow.
Be sure to bring handouts which may include business cards, brochures, a summary or tip sheet of what you discussed, even a promotional give-away (I used pens so folks can sign up for my newsletters).
Always collect lead names/emails from the audience members so you can follow up.
Of course, ask for testimonials, too — Google reviews increase brand trust and are a no-cost and potent marketing tool.
You might want to create a downloadable Speaker’s Press Kit for your website with a call to action so folks can easily access it.
Hire a videographer to capture one or two of your early talks — this will help you evaluate your speaking style and work on polishing it over time. Also, you should upload the video on your website’s home page.
According to one study, having video on your page drives a 157 percent increase in organic traffic from SERPs. And, video lowers bounce rates too. People spend over twice as long on a page with video than without.
To charge or not to charge a speaking fee? —That’s a good question. I know someone who has earned $5 million in speaking fees over his career. He charges a very reasonable fee and has gotten thousands of speaking engagements over the years. When you get or make a call, you should ask if they pay an honorarium. If they do, great. If not, you can look at it as an opportunity to get paying clients, and so long as it’s local or virtual, it will likely be worth your time. If, like me, you’re an author, oftentimes, a group or association will purchase a block of books from you and have you sign them at the event. Not direct pay, but still revenue.
Get the word out — Then watch what happens. Speakers are often responsible for doing their fair share of promoting the event. To do this, you can use all of your social media outlets, put a footnote on your email signature block, and announce upcoming events in your email newsletter or on your website. Whatever outlets you have available for your use is appropriate.
Take it to the next level — Public speakers can branch out in several ways. You can get a booking agent, join a speaker’s bureau, even create your own event at a local establishment or library (note: library events must be free to the public). Once you try it and see that it works, the sky is the limit.
Public Speaking for your business is a powerful, affordable tool that any business owner can do. With just a little effort, you’ll get immediate results that will help you grow your business.