Speaking at events is a great way to generate quality leads and expand your business.
The truth is, you don't have to be a great orator or the next Tony Robbins, so long as you know what you're talking about (which you will), come across as credible, and most of all, interest the audience.
Below are some tips to help you find and speak at events to generate new business. But first, I'd like to reiterate why you should be speaking at events.
Why should I speak at events?
Event marketing is another marketing channel, or way to let people know what you do and how to contact you. And it's face-to-face; this can help get your message across more powerfully and position your business more credibly. With these barriers overcome in the listeners' minds, you'll find that the new inquiries you get are more qualified leads-which usually means more sales and the sales process comes together a lot more easily.
Make a short list of the local service organizations in your area-the local Chamber of Commerce, or organizations like Kiwanis and Rotary Club. Likewise, consider national organizations. Most importantly, choose organizations and groups whose members are target customers of yours.
Contact the organizations and ask how to get considered as a speaker for one of their regular events. Also, be sure to find out how much time you will be given to speak. After the event, count how many appointments you get and see for yourself if it was worth the time invested.
Ideally you can get a video made of you speaking at the event. If so, post that on your website and on social media sites. The video will give you more credibility and position you as an industry expert.
Who is my audience?
Once you know where you'll be speaking, you can find out more about the audience. What do they want to learn about? What do they believe they want and what are their needs?
Think of how these relate to what you do. What could you show them how to do that would help them get what they want? These could be tangible or psychological benefits.
Figure this out and you're on your way to preparing a simple speech.
What should I talk about?
Address what it is that your audience is looking for, and explain it in a way that they'll understand.
For example, let's say your company provides outsourced customer service. If so, you'd want an audience primarily comprised of business owners. A simple talk would be for you to give them 5-10 tips related to customer service. For each tip, you would include good and bad examples.
Importantly, in doing this you will naturally promote your company's service (as the "good" examples will be ones that your organization has done) without directly pitching the audience.
So, yes, you can get tons of leads from your speech without being "salesy."
Where do I get material?
This part is easier than you think. Once you choose the topic, try brainstorming everything you can think of that it entails. With our customer service example, you can discuss delivery & fulfillment, billing, refunds, returns & exchanges, technical support, customer phone support, etc.
The key is that you are an expert on your business, so the information is probably already in your head.
Overcoming fear of speaking at the event
If you have some time before the event, don't worry or rush too much to finish your speech. Rather, try keeping a journal for collecting ideas and tips to share along the way. Then, assemble them into an outline for your talk. You don't have to write it out word for word if you don't want to.
If someone called you on the phone and asked you a question, would you need a script? No, you'd just explain it to them as you naturally would. Half of public speaking is reframing the way you see the situation, so you can relax and communicate as you would with an old friend.
Practice giving your speech by yourself a few times so you can pause and think about how it sounded along the way. Maybe have someone else listen to you in order to give feedback.
But when the day comes, relax and remember to talk as if you're on the phone with a friend. You don't have to hold eye contact with anyone in the audience, and they'll forgive you for any blunders as long as you're sincere and interesting!
Public speaking and "event marketing" is a great channel to meet and secure new customers. So, take a minute now to find a relevant event at which you can speak. You'll be glad you did.
Suggested Resource: Doing public speaking is one of many ways you can increase your company's credibility and get new clients. There are many more other "publicity" methods that can help you get even more new customers. Learn how to easily get tons of publicity for your business with Growthink's Publicity Playbook.