Public speaking: To speak or not to speak?

  • 5 reasons why public speaking should be included your public relations, communications and marketing strategy

    If you have a message that you want to share, what better way than by speaking on stage, in public, directly to those whom you want to hear it most.

    Why?

    1. To influence change and motivate action – Throughout history, public speaking has united people and galvanised change both positive and negative. We can all recall Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” which inspired a nation and broke down racial barriers. The rising popularity of TED, a global organisation devoted to spreading ideas usually in the form of short talks, lasting about 18 minutes in front of an audience, demonstrates that people have an appetite for listening to informed speakers. When someone speaks directly to us, we feel important, that we matter, that we can make a difference. Charitable organisations use this technique very effectively through TV advertisements hosted by celebrities ‘speaking’ directly to us, persuading us to support their cause.
    2. To communicate your message with clarity – No-one knows your business like you do. Public speaking is one of the most effective ways of getting your message across and marketing your business. You can communicate directly with those whom you want to reach, be it in a small local workshop setting or something on a much larger scale such a national or international conference. Many talks are now videoed and uploaded onto YouTube, providing a further opportunity to reach a wider audience.
    3. To be more visible and memorable – Seth Godin, American author, entrepreneur and marketer said “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” Public speaking provides an opportunity to connect on a personal level with your audience, to show them the person behind the brand. Brilliant speakers know how to engage their audience in a way that brings them on a journey that is relevant to them. As you are in control of your talk, you can be passionate, even vulnerable. You can share as much as you like about your journey as long as it remains relevant to your goals and appropriate to your audience.
    4. To be influential and raise your status – As you have been invited to speak, your audience will believe that you are credible and have some wisdom to share. By sharing your knowledge and insight, you will be recognised as providing value and your opinions will establish you as a thought leader and expert in your field.
    5. To grow and evolve as a person and an individual – Along with greater personal connection with your audience, comes the opportunity for immediate feedback. Your audience will respond through their body language, applause, questions and comments on your talk. This can be particularly useful if you want to trial a new initiative or a new product. Speaking at conferences and meetings may provide opportunities to poll the audience’s opinions. In addition, opportunities to network, build connections and develop fruitful partnerships will arise.

    What’s stopping you?

    For some people, speaking in front of an audience is a very real fear. It is known as glossophobia, and this fear prevents many from stepping up to the podium. So, there is an opportunity for you to claim that space.

    It will allow you to make a difference in your life, career, business and community. Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, said that ‘Great speakers are not born, they’re trained’.

    Public speaking is a skill

    Invest in quality public speaking coaching, practice at a local speakers’ event or club, refine your talk, and reach out for speaking opportunities. On a personal note, I have had the great fortune to work with Aly Harrold a professional speaking coach, with workshops in Kent & London, who specialises in helping businesswomen communicate their story with confidence, conviction and charisma. www.alyharrold.co.uk 

    After all, we cannot not communicate and as Oprah Winfrey says, “Being able to communicate with people is power!”