Afraid of public speaking? My unscientific research shows the fear of public speaking more common than the fears of spiders, heights, darkness and flying. Learning to speak well is a surefire way to boost your business. But first, you’ll have to promote yourself as an expert in the field. I started out speaking and presenting to small, city- and county-based Bar associations, in front of as few as 4 lawyers. My pay was prestige, and I used these early events as currency for larger, more regional opportunities, such as Beasley Allen’s Legal Strategies, where I presented just before Thanksgiving to more than 1,000 attorneys. In your market, there are countless organizations welcoming new presenters and speakers. Volunteer whenever you can. Most won’t or don’t have a significant budget for professional speakers, and you’ll get valuable experience (not to mention making great business contacts).
Once you get to speak in public, make sure you know your material. During one seminar, the person manning my laptop not only disconnected my slideshow mid-stream, but then skipped over my most important slide! But since only I knew it was missing, I kept going, shaken, but not completely off track. If it wasn’t for my preparation, and for rehearsing over and over again, I would have been sunk.
Here are a few more tips to get better at public speaking. We all know smiling and eye contact are important, but if you want to make the best connection with your audience, show your passion and enthusiasm for the material. Move around purposely on stage, instead of pacing nervously back and forth. And if you make a mistake, only you know it happened, so keep your cool.
There are so many benefits to better public speaking — recognition from your peers and potential clients being a few. Public speaking even helps you conduct better sales and client meetings!
If you want to see me in person, I’ll be speaking later this month on “Inbound Marketing for Lawyers” in Oklahoma City and presenting a brief search engine marketing slideshow at a networking event in San Antonio. Send me an email () or DM on Twitter (@findtheclient) and I’ll be sure to recognize you in public!
Photo credit by neosiam.