Effective Public Speaking to Promote Your Small Business

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

Small business owners looking for a marketing edge should consider public speaking as a key differentiator. If you can master the keys to effective public speaking, the opportunities are boundless, leading to more speaking engagements, new leads, and new business. It is also the most powerful way to build your brand. You are no longer just a business owner; you are a recognized authority in your field, which is a true marketing edge.

Keys to Effective Public Speaking

There is much more to effective public speaking than oratory skills. Ninety percent of it relies on preparation, content, and follow through, which anyone can master. The other 10%, which is the delivery, can be mastered over time and aided initially with a few simple techniques. The most important concept to understand up front is that it is not about you or your business. Instead, it’s about the value you bring to your audience. Your goal should be to educate your audience on ways to make their lives or businesses better.

Plan Your Speaking Opportunity

It is important to put yourself in your audience’s shoes so you can tailor your talk to their needs. Do some research to find out what they hope to learn, what their challenges are, and how your area of expertise fits into their lives or businesses. Then, focus your content on what your audience wants to know, not what you know. The key is to make your content easily digestible by your audience.

Don’t Just Deliver Your Content – Share It

For an hour-long talk, use the first five to 10 minutes to set the stage. Your actual talk or presentation shouldn’t take any longer than 20 minutes laced with no more than five to 10 slides. That leaves 30 minutes for questions and answers from the audience. You may need to spike the Q&A with a question or two to start. The Q&A is your big opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and your communication skills.

Be Engaging

You have the attention of your audience because they are there to learn. However, they also want to be stimulated. This is where you, not your content, come in. Your audience is doing more than just listening; they are reading your face and posture and connecting with your inner rhythm. Being aware of that can help you focus on how you are presenting, not just what you’re saying. Where you can, inject some natural humor or a personal story, either of which can be inherently persuasive. Interact with your audience with random show-of-hands surveys to draw out a point. Practice on camera several times and study your body language and tone, adjusting them after each playback. Try to achieve a balance of moderation and energy in your delivery. It will take a few speaking engagements to reach some level of comfort, but you will get there. In the meantime, make the most of your effort by following up with each audience member. Get their contact information, network with them, and find out how you can be of service to them.

References & Resources

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