When I am working with a client to create a brand-building campaign, I suggest many different tactics. These tactics include everything from social media to book publishing, from TV appearances to article writing campaigns. One of the tactics that I always seem to get pushback on is the idea of public speaking--whether at seminars or other events. Of course, it is perfectly understandable that many people don’t love the idea of public speaking. In fact, just the phrase “public speaking” takes many of us back to speech class in high school or college--and for most of us, it’s not a positive memory. But the truth is that speaking at a seminar or a conference is a uniquely powerful personal branding  tool and should be seriously considered by anyone who is serious about building their brand. Not convinced? Below are three good reasons public speaking needs to be part of your branding campaign.
1) Public speaking brands you as an expert. Think about the last time you attended a seminar that featured a speaker. Without even thinking about it, you granted the speaker “expert” status in your mind, didn’t you? We naturally assume that someone qualified to address a large group on a specific topic knows what they are talking about--which is why making a speech is such a good idea. When you speak on a topic, you become an expert in that subject.
2) Public speaking dramatically increases your credibility. How much competition do you face in your market? If you’re a dentist, how many other dentists are there in your city? If you’re a CPA, how many other CPAs are there in your market? The number is probably high. Now, of those competitors, how many of them are sought-after speakers? How many are considered a leading authority in their line of work? By pursuing speaking opportunities, you differentiate yourself from the vast majority of your competition.
3) Public speaking is like networking on steroids. Do you ever attend networking events? If so, you’re familiar with the routine--shake hands, swap cards, move on to the next person. If you are lucky, you’ll leave a networking event with a handful of connections and maybe one real prospect. Speaking, on the other hand, gives you a chance to tell your story and share your expertise with a large audience. And in my experience, the members of the audience that are most interested in your services (in other words, the best prospects in the room), tend to seek you out afterwards and engage in conversation. When you’re finished, you’ll often walk away with several great prospects eager to do business. And, you’ll already have sold them on your qualifications just by showing up to speak!
Public speaking is an incredibly powerful way to brand yourself as an expert in your field. It’s a great way to increase your credibility, and it can even be a direct source of new business. What are you waiting for?
JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors who consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their website. Jack and Nick have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.
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