3 Tips for Effective Public Speaking

[caption id="attachment_7463" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Ready to Fly by Marcel Germain, Creative Commons"][/caption]

A small business owner and I recently discussed the growing relationship economy. And a favorite topic of ours came up: social media and the progress her team was making on that front.

She was thrilled at how her staff engaged through their Facebook fan page and a Youtube video series to engage prospect relationships and drive sales.

She then admitted something that really caught my attention.
Her savvy team was so skilled at engaging through social media. So she felt comfortable with them presenting as panelists for a small industry event.

...which didn't turn out as she first hoped.

To her surprise, the team lacked confidence and basic skill in this public speech scenario.

She realized she had assumed their comfort and savvy in communicating online would automatically translate to offline environments.

Some ideas to audit and shape your team's public speaking skill:

1. Assess team skill before game time.
Create chances with your team to discuss, audit, and practice public speaking skill, like in assessment and goal setting situations.

Discuss which scenarios where they've publicly presented - like what type of audiences, with or without co-presenters, or in vs outside your industry. Learn what topics and stories related to your business most draw out their interest. Build off that subject matter and collaborate on a plan to finesse their speaking ability.

2. Make the marketing value of public speaking a team mindset.
Are there small business events/conferences (great calendar of entrepreneurial events at Small Biz Trends), podcamps, or local meetups (in case you're in the DC region) that would be ideal places for your business to be seen? ...and be conversational forums for your team to present?

Fast Company blogger and presentation guru Ruth Sherman recently made a great point: always be ready to speak. That's not to say folks on your staff should be ready for a 60 minute keynote at the drop of a hat.

It means that for business to succeed, the mindset 'always be marketing' rules the day. And the team's ability to represent well even at the most relaxed speaking environment makes an impact.

3. Develop quick key messages for a range of speaking opportunities.
To bolster team readiness, it's worth it to craft a mini, ongoing archive of key messages that reflect your business values, service, and industry relevance. These can be on-hand for future fleshing out for speeches or even networking events.

It's the relationship economy.

Is your team ready to help build those relationships through authentic and skilled public speech ability?

Jill Foster, SCORE Guest Blogger
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