Even though you may not be in front of a crowded room just yet, learning the Art of Public Speaking or at least faking it until you make it, is a good strategy to improve your marketing skills and presence. Speaking in public is a top fear, but it doesn’t have to be. Practice, preparation, and realizing that you don’t have to be perfect will help you connect to your audience better as long as you’re delivering value.
7 Public Speaking Tips Every Marketer Should Know
- Listen for the details. When you’re being asked to speak or are pitching an engagement, listen to what the event organizer is telling you. You may think you have a clear idea, but a misunderstanding of what you thought they want and what you deliver can result in awkward moments or a failed delivery. This counts for virtual presentations as much as in-person events. “The devil is in the detail,” my favorite mentor tells me. Create, set, and meet expectations and you’ll win every time.
- Understand your audience. Put the time in to learn about your audience, well in advance of your event. You can get excited as much as you want about speaking at a particular gig, but if your presentation is off or not geared specifically to who is in front of you, you’ve missed a key element in public speaking. Know your audience, their pain points and challenges, and why they’re there. Your expertise matters, so serve the best of what you have, customized to your group.
- Don’t wing it. If you’re not prepared, you risk looking like an amateur. And not just to one participant, but to an audience of potential prospects. Prepare an outline, an introduction, an ending, and a call-to-action if appropriate. Practice but don’t obsess about your talk, be human, add light moments and serious ones, and deliver a powerful presentation based on predetermined goals. Goals set by the event organizer and what you want to accomplish.
- Go easy on the slides. If you’re presenting virtually, you’ll most likely have slides or an interactive presentation. If you’re on stage, you may have the same content, plus an added opportunity to engage the audience, ask questions and get feedback. Instead of reading slides, tell stories. Mix up your images and keep text copy short, too. Power comes from the inside out, from your knowledge and energy, and that’s key to attracting clients, building a business, and referral engine to fill your pipeline.
- Mentally prep before your presentation. If you’ve ever rushed into a speaking engagement, wondered if your AV was going to work, been stuck in traffic, and felt like you wanted to go home – even before you got on stage, you hopefully learned an important lesson. Prepare in advance as best as possible. Get rest the night before. Get your chi moving the day of your talk. Arrive early to your virtual or in-person presentation. Don’t change tech without practice. Show up as the confident expert you are.
- Repeat important points. Depending on the goal of the presentation (yours and your event organizer’s) make it a point to repeat key elements. This provides a consistent thread throughout your talk and also lets participants know how you’ve helped others and how you can help them. Success stories work well, mistakes you’ve made and what you learned, as well as sharing tips, tricks and shortcuts in the presentation and as follow-up downloads or campaigns.
- Make eye contact. Find one person in the room to ‘talk to’ and connect with them to lessen butterflies in your stomach or varying degrees of stage fright. Who’s that one person? Maybe it’s someone you met when you arrived early. Introduce yourself and ask what brought them here. What would they like to learn? What are their challenges? Listen carefully to the questions too, because they can be used in content marketing; future blogs, articles, videos, podcasts, and talks.
Bottomline: Speaking helps you promote your expertise, bring in business, get recognized, build credibility, gain visibility – and increase revenue for current and future business lines. You weren’t born a speaker, so practice, be true to your brand and mission, offer value, and stop being so tough on yourself. Deliver what’s most important – you.