Many times local civic organizations look for experts from various business disciplines to come and give a presentation about a particular area of skill. The Elks, Rotary and Kiwanis are just a few who are always on the lookout for good public speakers to address their groups. So if you get a chance to speak to these groups, it’s easy to see these as tremendous opportunities for marketing.
The problem is that these groups restrict you to only address your field of expertise and do not allow marketing of any kind when you come to speak to their membership. This could be a pretty frustrating situation. Many times these civic groups are comprised of the successful business people in your area. And because these groups meet weekly or monthly they always need good public speakers like you. If you are confident in your public speaking ability, you can easily see yourself getting return invitations to address these groups. If you’re just so-so or not so confident in your public speaking ability, check out Toastmasters International… you’ll be glad you did!
But maybe by looking at these speaking opportunities differently, you can leave that frustration behind and find a way to market to these people by not marketing. You can use the natural functions of the public speaking forum to advertise your business in a way that never has a marketing feel to it at all. And these methods are not forbidden and your sponsors will applaud your presentation as you quietly capitalize on these speaking engagements for all the marketing value you can get.
First of all, you are allowed to introduce yourself and talk about your specialized training and experience. Let’s face it, while that is a section of your presentation to help your audience understand your area of expertise, it is also nothing short of a job interview. By discussing your training and talents in the context of background, you cement in the mind of that audience why you would be a good person to think about when they need your kind of talent as part of what they do.
But the introduction is not the only way you can market by not marketing. By speaking with energy and passion about your work, that excitement sends a message about who you are to those potential customers out there. The one thing a client wants to see is that you are always on a quest to increase your knowledge and skills. This is especially true if you are in an industry that goes through changes frequently. Your clients want a partner who can keep up on those changes so they don’t have to. By demonstrating that this is a big part of who you are as a subject matter expert in your area, you will become a very attractive prospect as a business partner.
You will want to make sure your presentation is packed with very real, good, useful and valuable information to the audience. A good approach is to discuss the problem area in business that your specialization is very good at addressing. By using your time to detail the problem, you create need in your audience. The solution section of your talk simply describes the perfect solution in enough detail so the audience knows you know what you are doing but not enough so they can take on the problem themselves. Once again, this creates the desire in the members of that organization to come to you when a similar situation appears in their businesses.
Be sure to use the time before and after your presentation for networking. You may be invited to join the group for a meal and if you have already had a chance to speak, this is an ideal time to make some personal connections, answer questions about your talk and even make appointments to come and speak to individual business owners about how you can be of help to them. You should always have your business cards with you and for members of the audience to take with them after your talk.
So if you done a good job of marketing by not marketing, those business cards will fly into the hands of those interested audience members and you will see a nice return on your investment of time just using public speaking to harvest contacts that can turn into more business for you.
To Your Success!