Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Public Speaking: How to Boost Your Business

Have you ever considered speaking in public as a way of getting free publicity for your business? Even better, how about people pay you to do it?

Organizations everywhere are looking for people who can speak at their meetings and share their unique knowledge with their members. By taking advantage of these opportunities you not only get to share your passion, but also get great publicity for your business.

But what if you don't have any experience speaking publicly?

1. Speak from the heart
Speak about what you know and love and the content will come naturally. Don't think about selling your business, closing deals, or what will "sound best." Just focus on your passion and people will naturally be drawn to you. Make sure that you are sharing your subject knowledge, and not just making a sales pitch. Your goal should be to educate, enlighten and share, not close a deal. When people see how knowledgeable you are, the business will follow.

2. Organize your content logically
Create clearly organized points. They are easier for both you and your audience to remember. This can be the hardest part, because when you're an expert at what you do, everything seems important. Don't overcomplicate things. Give people the need-to-know information in simple language they can understand.

3. Use clear and simple visual aids
Visual aids are just that - aids. They shouldn't dominate the presentation, you should! Use a large sans-serif font (minimum 28-32 font), simple colours and strong images.

4. Pay attention to your body language
Did you know that your audience gleans 55% of your message from your body language? Make eye contact with members of your audience, stand up nice and straight and be sure that your clothing is professional. You should have a strong, polished image.

5. Know your audience
There are so many different professional organizations and community groups for a reason: each group has a different focus and different goals. It's imperative you understand where the members' interests lie. Customise your talk to appeal to that specific audience and their needs. How can they apply your knowledge to their lives?

6. Speak clearly and correctly
It goes without saying that you should always use proper grammar and pronunciation. Speak slowly and clearly. Every word you say is important, so make sure your audience catches each one.

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