Many of the ways we’ve discussed for getting free or cheap advertising requires some form of public speaking. Whether on the radio, TV or at a seminar, public speaking can be a daunting prospect. But like it or not, it is one of the most effective ways you can promote your company’s products or services for free.
Tips for successful talks:
1. Plan your talk. Be organized and have notes. But don’t write your speech word for word. If you have every word you want to say in front of you, you will stand in front of people and read. Brief but helpful notes will remind you of what you want to talk about, keep you on topic, and keep your eyes on the crowd not the paper.
2. You may want to start your talk with a brief overview of your topic and a “show of hands” question to get the audience thinking and paying attention. Then move on with the meat of your content. Try to include antidotal stories so that people can relate to what you are saying. And end by reemphasizing your theme and perhaps even a “call to action”.
3. Know the audience. Arrive early and introduce yourself to people as they arrive. Include audience participation in your talks. Make yourself available for one on one questions as the audience is leaving. These things help put you on their level and make you seem approachable. People will be more willing to call you later if they feel like you welcomed their questions and were happy to speak with them.
4. Use simple, easy to read visual aids. These help clarify your information, and maintain interest. But displays that can’t be read from the back seats (where most people tend to sit) will tend to make people tune you out all together.
5. Mention your professional services or products within the middle of your talk. Include examples and testimonials for more concrete examples and references.
6. Relax and know how to channel your nervousness.
7. Keep the length to your allotted time (30 minutes is ideal for “How to” talks) and leave question and discussion time at the end.
8. If you are providing a talk outline or handout for people to follow along with you, keep to the order of topics that have been printed. Confusion and paper flipping during a talk takes away from what you are saying and makes you appear unorganized.
9. Use evaluation forms or a short survey to measure feedback.
Collect contact information with a registration form for follow up business opportunities.
Online Resources to learn more:
Toastmasters-Public Speaking Training
Allyn & Bacon Public Speaking Website- 5 public speaking modules to use