4 Truths That Will Make You a Better Speaker
Have you thought about using public speaking to grow your business but aren’t sure if it’s for you?
There’s been a lot of buzz about speaking in the coaching industry in the past several years. I find that when something’s trending, especially in the world of small business marketing, there are usually also a lot of mixed messages.
So here are four myths about public speaking…and more importantly, the truths that cancel them out. This will help you sort through the buzz and find out if public speaking is the right marketing strategy to grow your coaching or consulting business.
Myth #1: Public speaking only works for extroverts
Truth: Introverts actually make the best speakers.
Introverts, take heart. I too used to think that only extroverts could be good at speaking. But it turns out that being a successful speaker does not depend on you being an extrovert. Why? Because speaking depends on so much more than being outgoing, loving the spotlight, and being a “talker.”
In fact, many of the best speakers are introverts. For example, because introverts tend to be great listeners, they are often more attuned to the needs of others. This is a skill that allows them to make stronger connections with their audience as speakers. And that’s just one of the many strengths that introverts bring to the table for public speaking.
Other reasons introverts tend to rock the stage:
- They take the time to prepare thoughtful content that will connect with their audience.
- They are driven by the mission, the message and the purpose of their talk, not the excitement of being on stage.
- They tend to pick up on more nuanced social cues, which allows them to respond and relate in real-time to the changing energy of the audience.
- So if you’re an introvert, it’s time to start seeing that as an advantage, not a drawback, of public speaking!
Myth #2: Speaking only works if you are talking to huge audiences
Truth: Speaking can have a huge ROI even with a small audience.
You don’t have to speak at Carnegie Hall to have a big enough audience to grow your business. Small intimate talks or workshops are a great way to get started. Depending on your price point and what you’re selling, you can generate as much as 4-5 figures giving a talk or workshop to a group as small as 5-10 people.
One of my mentors once did a $20 half-day workshop for 5 people. The group was small, but she created great value, and used the time to build strong trust by powerfully serving the people in the workshop. Based on people I knew who enrolled in her programs as a result, I estimate that she generated around $5,000 in sales at the end of the workshop, and even more later on when some of those people attended her annual weekend event.
I’ve had a lot of success generating qualified leads and booking clients from smaller events, too. So don’t write off small groups as small potatoes, especially if you’re getting in front of the right people and creating substantial value for them.
Myth #3: I’m a confident speaker, therefore I will easily get clients from speaking
Truth: There’s more to speaking than being confident in front of a room
Got confidence? Fabulous. You’re ahead of the game, and that’s a good thing. But make sure you’re not skipping over other important parts of your speaking-as-marketing strategy just because you don’t suffer from fear of public speaking.
Having the confidence to stand in front of a room doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be successful in getting clients as a speaker. It helps to be confident, but there is so much more to it than that.
You need to create and deliver compelling value to the audience. That means having a strong marketing platform and value proposition.
You need to build trust and connect with your audience, which largely depends on the way you show up and how you engage with them.
Not to mention that you’ll need to make sure you’re hitting the strategic high notes that will lead to conversions, like choosing the right topic, providing the right level of value, and making sure you’re speaking to the right audience.
Those are just a few things that come to mind, and none of them have anything to do with your confidence level. So if you’re confident – by all means, use that to your advantage. But make sure you’re not leaving money on the table by skimping on other important parts of being a effective and engaging speaker.
Myth #4: I’m not an experienced or “natural speaker” so this strategy won’t work for me.
Truth: Speaking is a skill that anyone can learn and master.
I am living proof of this particular truth. While I am a confident speaker now, that wasn’t always the case. It took me time to build my courage speaking in front of groups. Believe it or not, I used to forget to breathe! So I would use up all my air talking (way too fast, I might add). Then I would have to take a huge awkward breath when I suddenly realized my lungs were empty! Oh, and I used to visibly shake. So in case you needed proof that I am not a natural born speaker, bam. There it is. (Mercifully, I don’t have video evidence of either of these old speaking quirks. And if I did, I wouldn’t show you!)
The key is to grow into it. Start with small groups and expand from there. That’s what I did. I took opportunities to stretch my comfort zone little by little, and it paid off. This is one of those things in business where you have to just do it to become confident vs. expecting to build confidence and then do it.
Another thing that helps you become a stronger speaker is knowing your content. The more confident and passionate you are about your subject matter, the easier it is to share with an audience. And the more you give your talk, the more dialed in your content will become – it’s a positive confidence-building, reinforcing loop!
So if you want to use speaking as a strategy to grow your business, you don’t have to already be an expert. But you do have to be willing to grow into it so you can become one.
I hope these truths help you move forward on your own path to public speaking. Here’s the bottom line: anyone who’s willing to do the work, build their confidence and master the craft can be a public speaker.
Where are you on your speaking journey? I’d love to hear about it – please share in the comments below!