How becoming a speaker will help your business
In a world gone digital mad, tech mad and very soon to be AI mad, it’s a challenge to keep up and to be heard. Many years ago when I started my first business, I thought it was hard to be heard in amongst the clutter (and I’m talking BI – before internet). It doesn’t even compare with today. It actually feels like two different worlds.
In among the techno buzz, it’s interesting to see that one skill still has the ability to cut through the clutter and provide us with extraordinary opportunities. That skill is speaking, and today more than ever, there is so much demand for people who are prepared to get up and share their message.
What are the tangible benefits to your business of becoming a speaker?
There are so many benefits to your business from speaking, not the least of which is turning the opportunity flow around. For most of us getting new clients is hard slog. We are always chasing new work and hoping to get business leads coming our way. When you start to speak, and you build your profile, you do become an authority and people will start coming to you for whatever it is you sell.
These opportunities tend to be quality leads, people look at speakers with a little awe and respect, and they are generally more serious about working with you, so they approach at the event or very shortly after it, keen to find out more about they can work with you.
Of course there are other benefits, you get to meet with business leaders when you speak, you might share the stage with other influential speakers and build relationships with them, the media are often keen to interview speakers, your credibility with your community grows – and of course, you grow as a person, which makes you more comfortable in business situations that might have proven challenging in the past.
What stops us from standing in a stage?
Speaking seems to have a nasty reputation, with quotes like “standing on a stage in front of a room full of people is the #1 fear that most people have, with dying the #2 fear”. This seems a little over the top for me, but there is no doubt that most people have a degree of trepidation about getting up on a stage, generally because we don’t want to make fools of ourselves. Fair enough I think.
But, and this is a big ‘but’, there are so many opportunities for growth and development, both personally and professionally, when we are brave enough to push through our fears and share our knowledge and experiences with others in a public speaking forum.
I often hear people pose the question “what do I know that is of value to anyone else?”. Apart from the fact that this breaks my heart a little to hear this kind of thinking, I completely understand. We tend to undervalue what we have learned during our life, regardless of what it has cost us (on every level).
Remember, no one else on planet has your same realisations, experiences, stories, ah ha moments, trials, tribulations or bazinga moments – and these are of great interest and value to others. Share what you’ve learned along the way, solve other people’s problems and inspire by telling your journey. Once you start speaking and you see the impact of sharing your life, you will be amazed by the feedback you get and the impact you have.
My #1 piece of advice
Now of course as a speaker coach, I’m going to suggest that you get some training, but I like to think that I talk the talk and walk the walk! I joined Toast Masters when I was about 15 years old. A great organisation that is the perfect place to help just about anyone develop their ability to stand up in front of a room full of people and get their message across. From there I’ve invested a lot of time and money into my own speaker development, and that’s helped me to build my business as global speaker, having delivered over 500 presentations in 25 countries.
Regardless of what level your speaking and presentation skills might be today, from brand new novice to grizzled veteran of the stage, get some training.
Tell your stories with authenticity
One of the great skills of a good speaker is the ability to share stories, and to share them with an air of authenticity. We want that more than we want a polished, smooth and overly slick speaker. Some of the greatest speakers that I’ve had the pleasure of watching, and in many instances working with, are not technically the best speakers, they just have the most authentic and engaging stories.
So where to from here? My advice is to start small if you’re just beginning this journey as a speaker. Put your hand up to share your story at a local business event. Put yourself in the shoes of the people that are going to be there. What will be of value to them, what problems of theirs can you help solve, what is your unique knowledge and expertise that will be valuable to them?
Take the time to plan out your presentation, rehearse it a few times, be more focused on delivering it with authenticity as opposed to getting the stage craft perfect. Speak from your heart, have a burning desire to help those in the room and remember to smile (and if your hands shake, hold them together!
Andrew Griffiths is an entrepreneurial futurist, international best selling author and global speaker.