Public speaking is back as a marketing tool

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

By Mark G. Auerbach

Public events are back in full swing these days, and the lecture circuit is an excellent opportunity for you to showcase your company and your expertise. Speaking at an event, be it as part of a conference or trade show or before a service group, can put you in the limelight.

Getting the gig is step one. Whether you work with a speaker’s bureau or choose to be your own booking agent, you’ll need to have a speech template, which describes what your lecture includes, its duration, etc. You’ll also need promotional materials (bio, headshot, and B-roll) to help the bureau or the group sell you as the perfect speaker for an event.

Know your audience and venue

To plan your presentation, it’s good to know who your audience will be, and to customize your comments as appropriate. (It’s one thing to present to professionals in your field and something totally different to speak to high school students who might become interested in your field). You’ll want to know how your presentation fits into a program. Are you the featured part of the program? Does your speech take place during a meal (which means you’re competing with servers and food for your audience’s attention). Is the venue theatre style or classroom style? Are there accessibility issues? (I, for one, do not climb stairs easily, so if there isn’t a level floor or railing with the steps, I need accommodations).

Make sure you have your production needs assembled. Will you be speaking from notes or will you need a teleprompter? Will you need audio/visual for your speech (PowerPoint, projector, etc.)? Will you need amplification? (What kind of mic and sound system). Will you be supplementing your presentation with music or video? It’s important to line these up in advance, even to the point of planning a site visit to the venue, so you have a lay of the land before the event. If you get “dry mouth” when you speak, make sure there’s water available. Always check to see that everything’s in place before you arrive on stage.

Structure your presentation for success. Remember A.I.D.A. Attract their attention. Interest and intrigue them. Make them desire to learn more. Make them take Action.

Prep is key

Presentation is everything. Rehearse your program in advance, so you’re comfortable with the material. Never read your speech word for word. Memorize your speech’s bullet points and lay out some key points you want to make. Work the room. Don’t stand rigidly in one place. Make eye contact with people. Dress is everything. It can set the tone. And remember to breathe. When I coach people in speech-giving, I use certain techniques from my theatre background…breathing exercises, vocal warm-ups, and relaxation techniques.

These resources offer good points to consider:

American Express: 7 Tips for Giving a Good Speech.

Lumen: Public speaking principles.

Universal Class: Using visual aids.

Mark G. Auerbach is principal at Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, a Springfield, MA, based marketing, public relations, development and events consultancy. You can find more information about Mark at Facebook and LinkedIn. Mark also produces ArtsBeat in print in The Westfield News, on radio for Pioneer Valley Radio and on TV and radio on WCPC15 and 89.5fm/WSKB. He also produces the TV and radio series On The Mark and Athenaeum Spotlight with Guy McLain.

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