Speak Up! It’s the Key to Your Business’s Success

by Bobbie Carlton | Business

Not all of us are extroverts. You might guess that as the founder of a speaker’s bureau (and a speaker myself) I would be, but you would be wrong. I spend a lot of my time speaking, guesting on podcasts, leading networking events, even delivering a TEDx talk, but I self-identify as an introvert. I see public speaking as essential for reaching new heights in your career and for promoting a business so I get myself onstage whenever I can. I also want to encourage other introverts to give speaking a try. 

The 5 C’s of Public Speaking  

If you think public speaking isn’t for you, here are five things you might not have considered.  

#1 Competence  

Every time you get up on stage, you are demonstrating that you know what you’re doing.  You know your subject area well enough to share your knowledge with others.  

#2 Confidence.  

Public speaking is a valuable tool for both building and demonstrating your confidence. The more events you speak at, the more your confidence will build. Companies prefer to hire and promote confident people.  

#3 Connections and Customers  

When you speak at an event, you and your message will reach a larger audience than just the people attending your talk. Event organizers use speakers as their primary content when promoting their event through ads, public relations, social media, email and the event website. Your name and topic will be included in the program. People in the audience may share your thoughts with their networks. You have the chance to make many new connections this way.  

#4 Credibility 

Speaking at an event drives the perception of credibility. You were vetted by the organizers. You were chosen to speak in front of an audience. Therefore, you must have expertise or knowledge that others may not. When on stage, you are physically and psychologically elevated. 

#5 Cash 

Based on research done in the field, there is a direct correlation between how comfortable you are in speaking and your potential take-home pay. Founders who take to the stage generally secure more funding than those who don’t.  

Where do you start? 

Now that you understand the benefits of public speaking, you may be unsure how to start. That’s where the Speaker’s Paradise comes in! (We say there is a paradise for speakers because there are so many different speaking opportunities.) Here’s just one data point: Eventbrite, an online platform for events, posted more than five million events last year and many of them used speakers for their primary content.  

People tend to think rather narrowly about public speaking. You don’t have to give presentations completely alone on stage. An easy way to begin is by being a panelist. You could be on stage with a group of other experts, having a conversation, answering questions and, in general, just speaking about your experiences. You don’t have to create a presentation, plus you make connections and benefit from the shared limelight from your colleagues. You could be a co-presenter, a webinar host, a podcast guest, or an emcee…. even if all you do is ask a question after someone else delivers a talk. That counts as public speaking! The possibilities are endless. 

Still nervous? 

If you still have some qualms about public speaking, here are some secrets from seasoned speakers to reassure you.  

  • The longer you avoid the stage, the more daunting it may seem. Start today. It gets easier. 
  • The audience doesn’t know what you’re planning to do or say, therefore they won’t know if you say something different or forget a part.   
  • People want you to succeed. They are rooting for you.  
  • Like any new skill, practice helps. The more you do it, the better you become.   

How to find public speaking gigs 

The lingo people use when looking for speakers for an event is a “call for speakers”.  

  1. You can easily Google this phrase along with your location or nearest big city to find hundreds of options.  
  2. Try and narrow these choices by using keywords and phrases for your niche.  
  3. Be sure to check under the “news” section in Google. Many events issue press releases when they open their call for speakers.  
  4. You can set up a Google alert, and then relevant events are sent straight to your email! 

Creating a speaking presentation  

Wondering what you will speak about? You’re probably an expert in many things: your field, your business, your career, or even life in general. Your area of expertise is a great place to start but you also need to consider your audience. Picture a Venn diagram. One circle contains what you know. Another contains what you want to be known for. The third circle is what the audience is seeking. And it’s just as important as the first two items. What problems can you solve for your audience? The best presentations offer solutions and actionable information.   

Consider these three components for your talk. Your best presentation topic lives in the overlap.  

Public speaking is worth investing your time and energy in. It is worth it to find a way to make it work for you. Say yes to the speaking opportunities offered to you, and you can figure out the details later. Say yes to your public speaking career!

Thank you for reading:

Speak Up! It’s the Key to Your Business’s Success by Bobbie Carlton

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Bobbie Carlton
Founder at Innovation Women <br>

Bobbie Carlton is the founder of Innovation Women, a mission-driven company through which she has supported 4000+ women speakers in their quest for visibility. She is widely known as an entertaining, tell-it-like-it-is speaker, who educates extensively (and passionately) about public speaking and how it can be the driving force behind career growth and business success.


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