The what, who and why of public speaking

The what, who and why of public speaking
Fiona Minett
Fiona MinettBoss Your PR

Posted: Wed 22nd Dec 2021

Public speaking may be a daunting prospect, but never fear, Fiona Minett has you covered!

As a PR expert and coach, and Enterprise Nation adviser, Fiona’s experience and expertise in brand building through public speaking is unparalleled.

Public speaking: the benefits

Maybe the mere thought of public speaking fills you with dread? Or perhaps you’re a social butterfly who's fired up by the possibility?

Whichever camp you fall into, positioning yourself as a public speaker is possible. Not just to raise your visibility but also to open up an additional income stream.

There’s huge scope for positioning yourself as a speaker, whether as an educator or as someone with a story to tell. Hosting online webinars for networks, speaking at trade shows or industry events, leading workshops and so on can give you the opportunity to get in front of your target audience and make a tangible impact on them.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

What do you want to say?

If you’re an expert in your field, think about the topics you could talk about.  What are your most-asked questions or your clients’ wants, needs and pain points?

These could be starting points for content that you could deliver. Some great themes for public-speaking content include:

  • busting myths

  • sharing top tips

  • telling stories with anecdotal insight

  • sharing industry expertise in an accessible way

Think about occasions when you’ve been inspired by speakers. What have they shared and how have they shared it?

Who do you want to say it to?

Once you know what value you can deliver, think about who you want to deliver this to. Any speaking opportunity can be incredible for increasing your visibility and getting yourself seen. 

However, you should target where you deliver your content so it benefits your business in the best possible way. Build your portfolio and then look to tailor your approaches with this in mind.

Start locally at networking events where you may be likely to find your target audience. Offer to share some expertise in a 20- or 30-minute speaker slot. 

Alternatively, you could speak online for a small business network or membership group, delivering a training session or doing a Q&A webinar. Take the opportunity to get used to presenting in a way that allows you to find your natural style, test out your content, gain some feedback and see how an audience responds to you.

Beyond this, perhaps you’re familiar with some industry events or regular panel discussions you feel would be a good fit. If you have value to share, reach out and ask if there are speaker sessions, panel seats or workshop opportunities available. 

Share with them the expertise you can deliver and explain why you want to be involved. Make yourself available to talk further should they be interested.

Why do you want to say it?

Speaking is a key part of:

  • creating a profile

  • building a personal brand

  • giving you standing in an industry

  • allowing people to get to know you, beyond a computer screen 

If speaking for you is largely about visibility, go to the trade shows, industry conferences and business-to-business (B2B) events that will allow you to position yourself as a thought leader and a ‘go to’ in your field.

This will not only build your kudos and credibility within your industry, but give you proof – in the form of photos of you taken at these events – to leverage across your social media.

If speaking is going to be about building visibility and creating an income stream, look at:

  • paid-entry ticketed events

  • corporate/sponsored events

  • university events

  • enterprise programmes

These platforms and events are likely to have budgets allocated for speakers, so you can quickly convert your speaking activity into a source of income.

How to leverage your speaking prowess

Once you’ve started building a track record by speaking at local networking meetups and online webinars, for example, you have assets to leverage.

Add logos, testimonials and feedback to your website, and set up a ‘Speaker’ page. Share some of your speaking topics and places at which you’ve spoken previously. Add ‘Public speaker’ to your credentials and ‘About’ sections on your social media profiles. On your website and social media, post pictures of yourself in action.

Leverage and build on your growing experience. Much like you would instinctively make sure that your social media profiles clearly demonstrate your work and your business, you need to articulate your new role as a public speaker.

Let your outward communication do the job of sharing some of the expertise you have to offer. Build trust and make your credentials and knowledge visible. You never know when an event researcher looking for speakers will be drawn to your social media profile through the #publicspeaking hashtag you used and see what a great fit you’d be for their event. 

The fear around public speaking can be very real. However, the best things really do happen outside of your comfort zone. Reframe any nerves as excitement and take that first step – who knows where it could lead!

Next steps

Read our blog, How to master public speaking to attract and convert clients

Watch our webinar, Get comfortable with public speaking, in which business strategist Cel Amade gives tips for delivering effective presentations and speeches.

Watch our webinar, How to become the best presenter and public speaker, in which Ian Taylor explains how to perfect your presentation and public speaking skills.

Fiona Minett
Fiona MinettBoss Your PR
Consumer PR expert providing comprehensive insight, resources and training to ensure that any entrepreneur and business owner can do their own PR in a time and cost effective manner, achieving the same results as any PR pro.

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