Speaking in the Community to Boost Your Business

Are you looking for an inexpensive way to promote your business? Have you ever wondered what a higher visibility in your community could do to increase business?

If you ever listened to a speaker at a service club like Rotary or Kiwanis and thought that you could deliver a better presentation, you may want to consider public speaking as an effective way to help build your business. Speaking at just one event could turn up many other opportunities as your visibility increases and attendees invite you to speak at their own events.

Why give a free talk?

Many service clubs will not pay a fee to have you speak to their members. However, you could consider that you are paid in a currency that is far more valuable than cash. You will experience increased visibility and be given access to new contacts that are part of the local community where you do business.

Talking about your business, charity or major passion is exciting and provides great visibility. Your first talks to local service organizations could not only lead to many more invitations to speak, but draw potential customers to your dealership. 

Even though your business may be unrelated to the topic you are speaking on, it will bring you recognition and eventual business. Even if you talk about your hobbies, interests or charity of choice, your introduction should mention your business. You will be networking and meeting new local business professionals each time you speak at an event.

What to talk about

What do you know that other people want to know about? What do you know that other people should know? What are the questions people ask you most often about your business, industry, hobby or interests?

Speaking at a service club or any local group is an excellent starting point for promoting your product or service. Remember, no one is eager to listen to a sales presentation. Your goal is to be interesting, informative, and even entertaining. This leaves audience members wanting to have an individual conversation with you. Each conversation could lead to friendship or a referral.

Get invited to speak

The first think you need to accomplish on your way to public speaking is to develop your speech. Once completed, tell your friends, clients, associates and acquaintances that you are available and would love the opportunity to speak to local programs.

You can also search online for service clubs in your area. In most cities, the local Chamber of Commerce will be at the top of your search. Find out who the program chairperson is and contact them. It is likely that they are always looking for new and interesting speakers. An entertaining, interesting talk on any subject that is well delivered is always very well received and could lead to more speaking opportunities.

Maximize the experience

Be easy to work with. Write your own short introduction, including the importance of the subject, and why you are the perfect person to deliver that message. Make your bio available to them well in advance for the group newsletter. As most organizations now have websites that advertise their program, also send a quality photo and link to your website.

Go early to the event, and make sure you meet as many people as possible. Find the visitors from other organizations and offer to speak at their events. Hand out your business card to as many attendees as possible. Also mention before you close your speech that you are available to speak at other events.

Have a handout or flyer. Develop a one-sheet flyer detailing your key points and information on your topic. Offer a catalogue or brochure, if appropriate. If you’ve had an article published, make copies for the audience members. Make sure whatever you offer includes your contact information.

Collect business cards. If your goal is to develop business contacts, always collect business cards from the audience members. To get more business cards you can hold a drawing for a small prize such as a gift certificate for your business.

Drive traffic to your website or blog. If your audience is interested in the subject, where can they get more information? Add them to a mailing list and include links to your website or blog on all handouts and in the presentation.

Speaking before a group of strangers may be slightly intimidating at first. Just remember, this is the beginning of many long-term relationships that will likely benefit your business. Step up to the podium and profit from the experience.

About the Author
Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE, is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills trainer, and keynote speaker. She works with organizations and individuals who want to gain powerful, persuasive presentation skills. She is a past president of the National Speakers Association. To learn more about Patricia, visit fripp.com, call (415) 753-6556 and follow her on twitter @PFripp.