Give ‘em a piece of your mind and be extremely visible with public speaking in 2010

While chatting with a consultant recently about her 2010 marketing plans, I suggested that she get aggressive about public speaking. “Oh, no, I don’t want to do that,” she said emphatically.

Not wanting to put yourself in front of audiences who would benefit from what you have to say as an expert in your field, where you’d strengthen your brand and grow your credibility, is like pulling a leg out from under the metaphorical stool of small business marketing.

I’ve always advised clients and colleagues that to get really well known you need to be extremely visible. The three best ways to be visible, where your prospects can experience how you think and follow your advice, are to write, speak, and network.

While writing and networking opportunities have exploded because of such social media as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, public speaking is still (mostly) a land-based, physical activity that you have to show up for, and thank goodness for that!

Speaking lets people experience you in a way that no other marketing activity allows for.

You can use theatrical techniques such as dramatization and slapstick to convey tricky concepts. Stories you tell about situations specific to your expertise come alive and burst with personality when you enact them for an audience.

With practice and careful preparation, you can move audiences to laughter or even to tears, all the while imparting ideas that help make people better off because they learned from your spoken words.

So my advice to you is to make 2010 the year that you add public speaking into your small business marketing toolkit. If you’re already speaking, look at what you can do to improve.

Join speaking organizations like Toastmasters, and take advantage of their exceptional educational opportunities. Or visit your local chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA) to see good speakers in action.

And aim to speak as frequently as possible, because the speaking “muscle,” like your body’s other muscles, needs to be exercised regularly to get and to stay strong.

(This post was inspired by the “Public Speaking and the New Year” blog carnival hosted by Angela DeFinis.)

Roberta Guise works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611.