Guest Author - Deborah Crawford
Public speaking is a great promotional tool for small businesses. It is a free and easy way to get the word out about your business and to educate people about your company and your product. But, how do you find your message?
Think about what people need to know about your business. How does your business benefit your customers? What questions do people ask about your services or products? Try to look at the “bigger picture” in terms of how your business helps people. Public speaking is not a sales opportunity, so a sales presentation is not what you are looking for here. While it certainly does provide business leads, your job when public speaking is to educate.
There are multitudes of opportunities for educating your customers. No matter what your business, you know things your customers do not know. Finding a way to share this information can be a marketing windfall, too, as you can use the same content you use in presentations in other ways—flyers, press releases, articles, and more.
Let’s look at some small business examples and some possible messages they could use for public speaking:
--Personal chef – cooking demos are a given, but also shopping tips, table décor, and menu planning. Topical now: eating locally and buying organic.
--Accountant – tax tips, record-keeping, new IRS info, how to use popular accounting programs.
--Jewelry designer or sales – Buying investment or heirloom jewelry, designing your own engagement ring, jewelry for the bridal party, or jewelry gifts for all budgets.
--Yoga teacher – Ten quick ways to de-stress, desk yoga, poses for young mothers, benefits of yoga for seniors, or stretches for corporate executives.
--Website developer – how to evaluate your website, free ways to rank higher in search engines, setting up a blog for your business, content ideas for any website, setting up a Facebook fan page, or top ten reasons to twitter.
--Home party sales rep – depends on your particular product of course, but if you sell cooking-related products, you could do cooking demos. If you sell Tupperware, you could talk about organizing kitchens. If you sell home décor, you could talk about choosing colors for decorating.
The key is finding a way to talk about something related to your business and provide free information about that to your audience. This helps establish you as an expert in your field. It lends credibility to your business image. And, often it results in immediate new customers from people who liked what you said.
Spend some time thinking about what topics you could speak on. Brainstorm and make as big a list as possible; you can narrow it down later. Visit the Small Office/Home Office Forum for help and feedback.
Dottie Walters is an expert on public speaking, and her book is a classic for speakers everywhere. Speak and Grow Rich can help you learn many of the essentials of public speaking.