Every business could use more good publicity, right? If you’re looking to garner more attention to your company and make a positive impression at the same time, consider a public speaking engagement. Now, if this strikes fear deep into your very core, take heart the National Institute of Mental Health reports that 74 percent of people suffer anxiety about giving speeches, and fear of public speaking is so widespread, it often doesn’t even occur to management to encourage employees to do so. We’ll help get you started.
Donald Trump has used this technique brilliantly. Aside from having a tremendously successful real estate business, he’s transformed himself into a celebrity and his name is known in households across the nation. Major conglomerates like Ernst Young have benefited from sharing the expertise of their staffers. Chairman and CEO Elect Mark Weinberger has an impressive resume, having worked both in the corporate world and at high levels of government. It’s great publicity for EY when international tax expert Weinberger appears on a major network to discuss tax policy; it engages potential clients, industry influencers and potential business partners and costs just a few hours of an employee’s time.
Your experience in public speaking will also make you a better presenter when it comes time to report to a board, pitch to investors and all sorts of other occasions.
Start by finding out who in your company has the knowledge and initiative to speak in public. The only way to get good at public speaking is by doing a lot of it. Don’t be afraid to participate in mock presentations or to videotape yourself to get a feel for how your presentation style is working.
Resist the urge to get extensive coaching on your presentation style. You want to hone your skills, sure but you also want to maintain your personality and character. The key to a good presentation is being genuine and giving your audience valuable content in an approachable way.
To that end, be sure you know your content inside and out. If you’re using visual aides, make sure they reinforce what you’re saying, rather than repeat what you’re saying.
Once you feel confident that you’re ready to hit the stage, plenty of opportunities await. Locally, seek networking and social organizations such as a local chamber of commerce or chapter of the Better Business Bureau. Start small by speaking at luncheons or offering an expert opinion on a morning news show. As you gain more confidence and credentials, you can start looking for opportunities to talk at industry conferences and participate in larger media opportunities. At minimum, you’ll get your name and the name of your business in a byline, and that’s free advertising. You’ve got nothing to lose, so get started!
No matter what size your company is or what industry it is in, you can grow your business with public speaking engagements.