Sixteen months ago I was working in the commercial fitout industry which I felt was an aggressive, saturated game. When you throw in a depressed property market, it’s a challenging industry to navigate and find a competitive edge.
Today however, I have rebranded myself as a keynote speaker and public speaking specialist. I've had many comments from people looking at my social media feed saying, "It's been an overnight success!" and "it looks so easy for you" which sounds great; however this could not be further from the truth! Success is subjective and unless you perhaps win the lottery, overnight success is non-existent. Even before I created Chatterbox it took years of hard work, daunting experiences and countless hours to refine my craft so I could confidently say I am a speaker (although it's still hard work, daunting and requires countless hours of practice!)
Over the course of this transformation I have realised how powerful speaking can be when it's part of your business development strategy and the impact it has on building your brand. Having used speaking as a key part of my business development strategy, here are my top three reasons on why speaking should form part of yours and how it can rapidly build your brand.
Whether you are speaking to 10, 100 or 1,000 - the exposure from speaking is fantastic. Whatever your area of expertise, when you add speaking to your tool-kit it guarantees additional exposure. Event organisers, industry groups and most companies look for speakers who specialise in their field and whatever you do, every specialist has their place in an industry. From experience, whenever I am booked to speak, the marketing is handled weeks beforehand - raising my profile and elevating my area of expertise. I always notice a spike in LinkedIn connection requests and post activity, increased web traffic and even my Instagram stats sky rocketing.
Over the last twelve months I have presented to almost 3,000 people (ranging from audience sizes of 10 through to 500). With so much exposure chances are you are going to generate a few leads, which is never a bad thing for business development!
As we know, without leads there are no sales. And without sales there is no business! Some professionals prefer traditional approaches such as cold calling and "pounding the pavement" to generate leads, however unless you are an absolute gun and have a tremendous strike rate, it can be a difficult (and for me, nerve racking!) thing to do. I realise speaking can be equally (if not more) nerve racking, however if you learn to control those nerves and present confidently - there is plenty of opportunity for lead generation.
The marketing in the lead up to an event can itself start generating leads. For example, you might be featured as a guest speaker at a networking event and the event organiser would likely send an event flyer to their network - advertising on their social channels with your name, bio and face all over the material. Deliver a great presentation and, you’ll not only be swamped with questions and a queue of audience members who want to speak to you, but there is also a good chance some people will e-mail and privately request a coffee catch up to discuss how you can work together.
It’s like cold calling, only the work is done for you and you are introduced to an entirely new network as a trusted person in your field.
Being introduced as a trusted person is a powerful way to position yourself as a subject matter expert and gives you a competitive edge. Most organisations are looking for a competitive edge, and from a business development perspective, establishing your credibility has immense value. The more you present, the more exposure you receive and the more credibility you build. Of course, you need to 1) know your stuff and 2) deliver your content well.
If you can consistently do those two things, it’s a golden ticket. Establishing yourself as a credible expert is wonderful for your brand as you become the "go to" person, and you may even find this results in high value clients, stronger networks and widespread respect in your field. This respect can lead to additional exposure through being invited to share your views on media channels, podcasts and radio, which amplifies your credibility. During 2019 I was interviewed on the radio and numerous podcasts; the District 32 Business Expert Radio was my most recent interview where I discuss why public speaking is an essential business skill.
Since starting Chatterbox I have coached and presented across most industries and met many talented people who could significantly elevate their game if they embraced speaking as a business development strategy.
Given the challenges I have faced with my own communication ability I appreciate public speaking is not an easy thing for most people, and it's probably the one skill you would rather avoid, but when you think about it - that's exactly how most people think! Therefore if you developed this skill and used it as part of your business development strategy, just imagine how powerful public speaking could be for growing your business and your brand.