There is a fear worse than the fear of death for some people – speaking in public. However, speaking to groups of people can get your business name in front of a crowd and can help you make network connections that will pay off later. According to the Austin, Texas BBB:
One of the best methods of promotion is public speaking. It’s effective and affordable, and you don’t have to be a public relations specialist to do it.Public speaking is a chance to increase your visibility, educate consumers and potential clients and develop an image as an expert in your field.
What Your Business Gains from Public Speaking
Most small businesses have a small promotional budget to match. Public speaking is a free marketing venue. All you’ll have to invest is a little time. Even if you hand out information and brochures, the cost should be minimal. Depending on your product, you might even be able to take some items with you to sell at the back of the room.
For a small investment of time, you’ll gain:
- Local visibility
- Networking with local organizations
- New customers
- Increase in speaking skills
- Springboard off the organization or event’s PR
- Forum to share your expertise
If you’re shy, there are a number of ways to combat that and still use public speaking to feature your business.
- Get a friend of colleague to do your speaking for you. Some people aren’t as shy and actually enjoy public speaking.
- Take a Dale Carnegie course, which will help you learn to be more comfortable getting in front of others and speaking.
- Join a local Toastmasters group to learn public speaking tips and gain practice.
- Just do it. It may be a disaster the first time or two, but with practice you’ll get better. Most audiences are very forgiving.
Use any public speaking type event to gather contact information from those attending. These are potential new customers, especially if you’ve chosen the right target audience and they are people who are interested in your product. Here are some ways to collect info:
- Offer a sign-up sheet for your newsletter.
- Offer a drawing for a prize. All they have to do is share name and e-mail.
- Trade business cards.
- Ask users to fill out a survey about your speech and put their name and contact info at the top.
Once you get past your uncertainty, you’re likely to find that public speaking is a very rewarding part of marketing your business. Local organizations as well as national ones are a good place to seek an audience when you’re just getting started. Who knows? You might get so good at public speaking that you get some paid engagements later on.