Friday, July 11, 2008

Speak More Often, Make More Money!

By Lisa Braithwaite M.A.

Public speaking is a free and easy way to get the word out about your business. It’s not as flashy as advertising, but infinitely more personal and customizable to your audience.

If you’ve considered promoting your business through public speaking but don’t know where to begin, here are three painless tips to get you started. If you’re already speaking for your business but want to make a greater impact, read on!

Determine your objective

Speakers frequently create presentations based on facts, figures and features, but with no particular objective or purpose. Without an objective, how do you know what you’re trying to accomplish? Without a purpose, how do you remain focused?

First, figure out who’s going to be in the audience. The more you know about them, the easier it is to determine your objective. You might want to know their age, gender, income, experience level and interest in your topic, for example.

Ask yourself what you want the audience to do as a result of your presentation. Do you want to educate them? Do you want them to hire you? Do you want them to go out and tell others about your company? Those are all valid objectives. Now how do you get there?

Open with a bang

Grab your audience right from the beginning with a question, quiz, quote, story or statistic. You want the audience to be emotionally involved right up front, and a lengthy introduction about you, your company’s history, and your satisfied customers is not going to achieve that.

Is there a quote that will make them laugh before you transition to your main topic? Is there a story you can tell that will have them on the edge of their seats? Is there a statistic that will leave them with their mouths hanging open? This is the first step toward engaging your audience and keeping their attention.

Talk benefits, not features

The audience only cares about themselves. They only care about what they’re going to get from your presentation, and how they can use the information later. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?”

When talking about our businesses, we frequently talk about features: services, products, how fast our response times are, our great customer service, our many awards.

These are all vague concepts to your audience. They don’t say anything about what the audience gets from using the service or product. Will they look younger? Live longer? Make more money? Save time? There you go! That’s what they want to know. Those are the benefits of using your service or product, and that’s what you need to promote.

The key here is to offer value, practical information that they can apply to their own lives the minute they walk out the door. If you are not providing something of value to them, something relevant and useful, then you are wasting their time.

Know your objective and focus on the audience’s needs and wants, and your talks will be more engaging, you’ll better represent your business and yourself, and your audiences will come back for more.

For more information contact:
Lisa Braithwaite
Visit Lisa's Blog at

NOTE From Michael:
Whenever you speak you should notify the media. Even small mentions in local papers can go a long way towards establishing yourself as an expert. Send a short paragraph to all the media in your town prior to the event. Make sure you do so again after the presentation. You might want to invite your local business reporter(s) editors to hear your program. And definately remember to bring a camera. Newspapers love action pics. Send the picture with the post event release. Send it to the business section editor as a stand alone piece. Post it to your web site. Send it to the group that invited you to speak and suggest they post it to their website. There are tons of different ways to leverage seemingly small events like these into great exposure.

Thanks Lisa

1 comment:

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for the added tips, Michael. I don't follow that practice enough.