Public speaking: for many, this term drums up bad memories of a college presentation gone awry. If you’ve ever taken a public speaking class, you know what I’m talking about. For some, it’s simply a breezy conversation with an audience. For others, it can be a struggle just to know what to do with your hands.
As a PR pro, I know that the right words and content are among the greatest gifts you can give a client. Anytime I hear a speech on TV, radio, etc., I’m like a giddy school girl completely absorbed in the moment. I’m hanging on the speaker’s every word, replaying sentences back in a different form and analyzing what the media and audience will interpret from the message, tone and delivery. Perhaps this, and the fact that I jump at the opportunity to put our clients in the public speaking spotlight, is just further confirmation that I’m in the right profession.
Simply put, for our clients, we believe in speaking opportunities – that is, the right speaking opportunities – and giving them the tools and confidence they need to get their message across.
Public speaking, when done correctly, has the power to motivate and persuade crowds like no other form of communication. Getting speaking opportunities is a great way to:
- Increase your company’s visibility.
- Establish yourself/your company as a thought leader/industry leader.
- Generate business leads.
How do I get speaking opportunities?
Seek and ye shall find. Don’t wait on someone to approach you about a speaking opportunity, take the lead and proactively seek the right audiences to deliver your message. Local business/industry clubs or organizations, such as NAMA, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, etc., are a great place to start. Use your personal and professional network to scout out potential speaking opportunities. Chances are you know someone or know someone who knows someone looking for a speaker just like you.
Use a competitive edge. Your competitors are more than likely trying to get speaking opportunities as well and may have already spoken at a few of the same gigs you’re looking to score. Another way to find speaking opportunities is to see where your competitors have previously spoken and contact that group about using you in the future, because the chances are they won’t use the same speaker twice. Tip: do an online search with your competitors name with the word “conference” or “seminar” beside it and see if any prior speaking opportunities pop up.
Take it to the Web. Use the wide array of search sites (Google, Bing, Yahoo) to find speaking opportunities. Two other fantastic resources to find conferences near your area are: Lanyrd: the social conference directory and LinkedIn.
Bottom line: Get speaking opportunities. Don’t pass them up. If you don’t feel comfortable being the speaker, find someone in your company that can shine in front of crowd. It’s important to get your message and business out there to new audiences, and public speaking is just one PR tool that does both.