Speaking Up for a Point
MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS
Is giving speeches a part of your marketing mix? If not,
is it because you don't know how to go about getting speaking
engagements, because you don't know what to say to the audience,
or because the thought of speaking brings on a case of the
If any of those is holding you back, getting the answers
will give you a new marketing tool that's inexpensive and
effective. This article will give you some of those answers.
As a business owner, you've already surprised yourself with
a number of heretofore hidden talents. And you've been pleased
to validate the range and depth of your strengths. If speaking
hasn't been one of your previous strengths, now's the time
to add it to your repertoire.
First: Find your audience.
Your buyers are congregating somewhere you just need to
find them. Your intuition will immediately identify an organization
or association or two you'd like to reach.
You can look in your local Yellow Pages under Associations;
check the reference section of your library or surf the
Net for names of such groups; talk to meeting planners who
You're looking for people who are interested in your subject
who are likely to have an interest in doing business with
you-if only they knew how wonderful you are.
It's probably not necessary to point out that you'll want
to start with a few small audiences to refine your subject
matter and your comfort level.
Solve a problem for your audience - that makes you an expert.
If you're making the arrangements yourself, introduce yourself
and your business to the meeting planner or marketing director
of your target group in a letter outlining your topic, and
include your credentials. This letter should be strongly
aimed at WIIFT (What's In It For Them?).
Let them know you will call to be sure they got the letter,
and in that call, reaffirm your interest in speaking to
their group. Show your interest by asking some further questions
about the group-perhaps about previous speakers they've
had, or whether the makeup of their group has changed in
the last couple of years.
Second: Decide what to say.
You may be going to all this trouble for a payoff-more business.
But put that behind you when you're deciding what to say:
focus on specific information you can give them that they
If you're a florist, give them some information on how to
decide which flowers will hold up best for an occasion that
matters to them-an upcoming wedding, a party, Mother's Day
corsage or plant. Or such topics as how to get the most
for their money when they call a florist, or how to get
cut flowers to last longer, or how to make their own bridal
Don't make it a commercial, and don't give away the store.
You don't have to be afraid they'll all run out and do it
themselves. Those who do weren't going to use your services
anyway, and the rest of them will be impressed by your knowledge
and your willingness to share.
If you sell cleaning products or are a cleaner, tell them
how to remove stains from their clothing-don't tell them
how long you've been in business and what a great job you
do. Let that be a subtle message in your speech. And it's
appropriate to have that in the brochure you leave with
If you are a meeting planner, tell them how to avoid headaches
when dealing with a hotel, or what to watch for when they're
designing the invitation.
Don't toot your own horn-"Here's what we can do for you.
Here's how great we are." That's just an ad, and ads don't
generate credibility. Credibility comes from demonstrating
your competence in your field by giving information they
won't otherwise come by in such a focused, accessible format.
Third: Get comfortable speaking.
You don't have to be nervous. Speaking is not about you-it's
about helping your audience. You have a choice: you can
either focus on what might happen to you, or what everyone
may think about you, or you can focus on what they've come
For more information, contact:
Barbara Rocha and Associates
PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116