Speaking engagements for business owners and entrepreneurs are a fantastic honor and experience, but also a fantastic opportunity for promotion and exposure. This post explains those benefits in greater detail, as well as providing tips on how to get the most from them.
A speaking engagement is an opportunity to speak in front of an audience on a topic that you find important, interesting or moving. This is a goal for many entrepreneurs and business owners, but also an important way to promote your brand.
Benefits of public speaking include:
Of course, the pinnacle for many would be to give a TED talk. This would result in all of those aforementioned benefits to a large degree:
Being good at business isn’t really one skill, but rather a selection of different skills all of which combine to make someone either a success or a failure when trying to make money. Some of these skills meanwhile are of course more widely despised than others, and one of the least popular for many of us is public speaking. If you are serious about business then from time to time you are going to have to give reports or presentations, or you are going to have speak to the press – and this can be a nerve wracking and unpleasant experience even when the rest of your business skills are top notch.
Tip one is simply to relax. If you are someone who is very nervous when they give talks then this is of course going to create a vicious cycle as it makes you more likely to rush what you’re saying and more likely to stammer – which in turn makes you more nervous still. The solution is to make sure that you relax as much as you can going in to the talk and that you practice calming your nerves. A great way to do this is with something called ‘cognitive behavioral therapy’ or ‘CBT’ which is basically a series of techniques used to help you moderate your thought patterns so that they are more conducive to giving talks and relaxing. Learn to control your thoughts and remind yourself that the worst that can happen is that it’s a little embarrassing.
I mentioned that nerves could make you speak too quickly and this is a common problem for many people who struggle with giving presentations. Here adrenaline causes our perception of time to slow down meaning that we talk faster, and this makes our speech less impactful an more likely to go wrong. Even if it feels like you’re talking far too slowly then, make sure to consciously make an effort to take long pauses and to draw out what you’re saying – and this will help to make you sound more intelligent as well.
Memorizing a speech is a recipe for disaster because it means it can all come crashing down when you forget the next line. Instead then try to use cues such as cue cards to trigger your memory regarding the next line but don’t necessarily follow these to the letter. This way you can adapt to the audience and it means you can glance down without having to remember anything/without taking your eyes off of your audience for too long.
Keeping your head up when you present is an important way to project your voice more as well as to make you look more confident. Look down and you’ll mumble more and the lack of eye contact will make your speech seem less interesting.