Are you in the Professional Services industry and looking to market yourself and your business? The most effective and inexpensive way to do so is through public speaking and word of mouth – your mouth.
Even with an almost zero budget, you can promote your business by talking to people. These are questions to ask yourself and steps to take to make you a good public speaker:
Are there organizations that can help me hone my public speaking skills?
Yes, you can attend groups such as Toastmasters as a guest, for free, and work your way through icebreaker speeches all the way up to competitions, if you like. Besides working on your public speaking skills, Toastmasters is a wonderful way to network.
Do networking groups help with public speaking opportunities?
Absolutely. You can find networking groups through Meetup.com, LinkedIn, and others. The value is that the more people you meet, the more you can practice your talking logo, which is your short, pre-prepared response to the question, "What do you do?" The talking logo should be something that compels the listener to want to know more by showcasing the benefits of what you do that saves time, effort, and money. This is also a great time to share that you are available for speaking engagements. The more people you meet, the greater your opportunity to land a public speaking gig and share what problems you can solve.
Should I consider speaking for free?
Yes. Nonprofits and clubs are great audiences to promote your business to, gain speaking experience, and build credibility. Also, like networking, you'll meet potential customers and gain free publicity.
What the heck do I speak about?
You want to expound on your talking logo, of course, but it’s best to address concerns in your professional services industry and offer answers. Keep in mind that you want to focus your expertise on solving one problem or a small number of problems. Additionally, make sure you tweak your speech to your audience. For example: if you are invited to speak at a Rotary Club, make sure to include references to the club.
Ok, I’ve developed into a confident speaker, now what?
Congratulations! You’ve done your time gaining speaking experience at clubs and nonprofits – now it’s time to move on to professional organizations. At this point, you’ll realize there's no difference between speaking to nonprofits and speaking in your industry. The payoff is that you can connect directly with professionals in your field.
Other advantages of speaking to those in your field are that you can speak longer and do a detailed deep-dive into your focus area. You can send out press releases and cite your experience. The more public speaking you do, the more you have to add to your bio.
You might not be able to afford professional marketing, but you can still promote yourself, your services, and your company. The best weapon in your marketing arsenal and most valuable resource is YOU!