Speaking at a conference or event can be nerve-wracking. Even for those who are able to present confidently and learn their ‘speech’, the thought of unknown questions being asked afterwards can be a deterrent. It’s often hard to see the benefits of putting yourself out there or putting the effort in to these, often unpaid, situations. Will the audience remember what you said even 5 minutes after you left the stage? Is it really worth overcoming your fear of public speaking to raise the profile of your company? Let’s talk about what really happens when you do just that.
Will speaking at events benefit your company? There is no doubt that public speaking is an effective way to build your profile and credibility as well as position yourself as an expert in your industry. In today’s competitive market, being positioned as an expert can lead to new business opportunities and an increase in sales and new customers. That said, when you’re asked to speak at an event, there are always plenty of reasons to say no, from the time it takes to prepare, to the uncomfortable lead up to the event where you doubt whether your content is good enough or whether you practised as many times as you should have. It’s easy to forget how valuable the experience can be. We’ve decided to help you by noting down the 5 main benefits to saying ‘yes’ when you’re asked to speak at an event so that next time you’re asked, you can hopefully jump at the chance!
1. More sales for your company
Many people will say that public speaking can help get you leads. Many businesses send their staff to speak at events because they are hoping to get business out of it. By speaking, they want to attract the attention of possible clients and whilst there is nothing wrong with this, simply pitching products or services usually backfires. The reason is simple: pitching makes for a bad experience for the attendees. Often, the consequence for this is that they just won’t buy from that brand. If you want to avoid falling into that trap, all you have to do when speaking is tell a meaningful story or teach the audience something. If you can give the attendees something valuable and show your brand as part of that too then you will get more business in a more natural way.
2. You can showcase thought leadership
Public speaking is an effective way of getting your message across. Your company exists for a reason. That means you have a purpose that goes beyond selling your product. It’s your reason for existence. Spreading this message can be part of the marketing strategy. Aiming to become a thought leader in your industry is one of the tactics. Not only will you reach people who go to the event but you’ll also capture the attention of those who read about the event in articles. For us, one of our company goals is to establish a reputation as thought leaders. Putting ourselves out there and speaking at high profile events, such as Brighton SEO and WordCamp London, is part of our strategy.
Speaking at events is a fantastic way of getting free publicity. There are often people there who report on the talks given in online articles, vlogs and blogs.
But the free promo doesn’t only come from those who blog about the events. Organisers want to get as many people as possible in the room and generate excitement about the event so they usually offer speakers publicity. Make sure that you volunteer to be a part of it whether that’s through getting interviewed or writing a guest post. Any chance for the content you’ve worked hard on to be preserved and shared with a wider audience is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on. The more your name and your brand becomes recognised, the better. We often appear in other organisations’ blogs and social posts because we are happy to contribute, to share and to offer help and advice which increases our visibility online and offline too. Most recently, Meg’s Brighton SEO talk was the focus of an article in Thrive Magazine, Brighton’s Business Magazine For Female Entrepreneurs.
4. You can make a difference
Public speaking gives you the chance to make a captive audience think about specific topics. And people often attend events with speakers to generate ideas and be inspired. You might want to raise awareness about a topic which is close to your or your brand’s heart and this is a perfect way for you to do so. Director, Meg Fenn did just that at Brighton SEO, a highly successful talk which continues to give Shake It Up Creative a presence in both local and national press. If the topic of your choice also lends itself to present a problem which your brand can solve then your sales pitch need no longer exist. Perhaps the conference or event you’ve been asked to speak at doesn’t quite have a topic which aligns with your brand’s unique selling points, that’s okay. Unless it’s wildly misaligned, take the opportunity to speak anyway, you will improve your confidence for the next time and you might meet people who can be beneficial to you.
Public speaking is a great tool for getting the attention of those that can help your business further. These can be investors, your first customers, collaborators or even banks. Once they see you on stage, showing your knowledge, their trust in you grows. Meg made some valuable connections when she agreed to sit on a panel of female agency owners at WordCamp Brighton this past August. She continually learns from some of those inspirational agency owners, and they from her. With the right story, potential customers will be able to rest assured knowing that their money is in the right place with you. And even if you, the person speaking, are not the business owner, you will be adding to the success of your employer, helping to keep you in your job!
Will you be taking on more public speaking opportunities in the future? Talk to us in the comments below or get in touch for more advice, we’re happy to share our knowledge.
Meg Fenn, Director of Shake It Up Creative