The 12 steps of public speaking for small business owners

Here's how to ensure you are on the right track to becoming a successful public speaker.

Getting your message across successfully as a public speaker requires a lot of preparation

Getting your message across successfully as a public speaker requires a lot of preparation

Do you think you have what it takes to be a public speaker? Have you watched hours of TED Talks and dreamt that you were the person up on that stage? If you have a motivational story to tell and want to inspire others then you are definitely on the right track. But, before you do anything else, you need to know the 12 steps that will take you towards being a public speaker…

Step 1: Choose the topic you want to speak about

The topic you want to talk about it entirely up to you, but just think about your passions so that you can guarantee you feel strongly enough about a topic. Perhaps you have a story to tell and aim to inspire from your own personal experience? Take Martine Wright, for example: not only is she an incredible paralympic athlete, but she found a new positivity for life after losing both legs in the 7/7 bombings. She now uses her ability to overcome adversity to inspire others.

Step 2: Ensure your message is relevant and timely

This could change slightly depending on who you are speaking to – for example, if you are addressing school children, you might want to direct it towards encourage them to work hard to prepare for their future. The same speech could then be delivered to those who have finished education but tweak it to empower them to make changes if their future isn’t going in the direction they hoped.

Step 3: Become an expert

You must be an expert in your field. The more you read and understand, the more confidence you will have discussing it your subject. So, continue to study and stay current in your field.

Step 4: Know your audience

You need to understand the people you are targeting (which will also help you to make the message relevant and timely) because different groups need to be communicated with in different ways.

Step 5: Take classes in public speaking

Just because you have something to say doesn’t mean you know how to say it. Listen to the way Les Brown speaks to his audience – it is not just the stories he tells that are motivational but the way he tells them.

Step 6: Record your speeches

This will enable you to watch yourself back and make any necessary improvements. Perhaps you speak too quickly, or quietly? Maybe you look at the floor and don’t make any eye contact? Whatever it is you can see it for yourself before an audience does.

Step 7: Practice your writing

Communication is the key to public speaking and of course you need to write your speech. So, write whenever you can – keep a blog, perhaps? This won’t only improve your motivational speaking skills, it will also be a great way to market yourself.

Step 8: Do you need any props or equipment?

You might not want to use any thing when you’re speaking, or perhaps you plan to create a presentation ahead of time instead? Whatever the case, choose the supporting tools you need and then make sure you are comfortable with using them.

Step 9: Choose a venue

There are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to the venue; how many people can it fit? Will it give a feeling of intimacy without being too crowded? If it is too big will it look empty? A motivational speech in a conference room or an auditorium might be better received than one in a village hall, for instance.

Step 10: Develop a marketing plan

So, you already have your blog (which will be a great way to build a following and connect with people). But, you should also take advantage of social media to advertise your speeches. Perhaps you could deliver speeches for free until you build a brand?

Step 11: Register with a speaker’s bureaus

Do you want to offer your services to conventions, conferences and seminars? Well, if so, the best way to do this is by signing up to a speaker’s bureau who can help find relevant events for you. Event planners looking for a motivational speaker will easily find you if you join the likes of June Sarpong and Jake Meyer on Speakers Corner for example.

Step 12: Invite feedback

Don’t forget to ask for feedback! The positive responses can be used for marketing, and the criticism will only help you to improve and better yourself.

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards 2017, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!

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