Last Friday, I spoke at a Connections Networking meeting in Santa Rosa to a group of women entrepreneurs. The subject was, “Your Big Mouth: Your Most Powerful Marketing and Public Relations Tool.”
Since I created all this juicy content for this speech, I thought I’d share it with you here. I’ve broken it up into three installments, but if you want to hear a recording of the actual speech, you can! It’s located at the end of this post.
I’m going to confess right here and now, I am a marketing junkie. I love marketing. From the tried and true, good old-fashioned variety to the slick, new internet marketing. And I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on all kinds of marketing tools, marketing plans, marketing trainings, and thousands more learning how to use blogs, podcasts, vlogs, article marketing, MySpace and Craigslist as marketing tools.
Gee, you would think I would be famous by now!
What I have learned from all this expense and experience is this: There is still no single marketing/PR tool that is more powerful, cost-effective, comprehensive and essential than your own big mouth: your ability to talk about who you are and what you do.
Because you can have the flashiest website, the most spectacular direct mail marketing piece, a stellar press release, and all the promotional do-dads in the world, but sooner or later, you are going to have to talk to someone. Someone is going to call you on the phone or come up to you at a networking meeting, and say, “Hey, tell me what you’re all about.” And what you say, how you say it and who you are being while you say it, is either going to move the relationship forward or stop it dead in its tracks.
You use your big mouth as a marketing tool all the time. When you go to networking meeting and you talk to others about your business. You use it all day long as you engage with clients, potential clients, vendors, associates.
But today, we’re going to talk about the big banana of Big Mouth Marketing, and that is public speaking.
Public speaking is the Swiss army knife of marketing and public relations. It is compact, easy to carry, and yet it holds a multi-faceted array of tools and opportunities for you to effectively market your business. I will be bold enough to say that one 20-minute speech can accomplish more for you than four months worth of other marketing projects.
Let me give you an example.
If you go to a networking meeting, and if you’re lucky, you will meet anywhere from 2 to 7 new people. Of those new acquaintances, maybe two of them will walk away from that meeting with a clear idea of your expertise, what you offer, and why you’re the one to do business with. Maybe.
But when you are the speaker at the networking meeting, you are introduced to everyone. You get to meet and talk with everyone in the room. You share your expertise with everyone. Everyone walks out of there knowing who you are, what you do, why and when they should contact you or refer to you.
In a tiny 20-minute segment, you can communicate what you know and establish yourself as someone who offers valuable information that people can really use. You can also collect everyone’s business card (and I’ll tell you a fun way to do that in the next installment) so that you can follow up with these new potential clients. And in some cases, you can sell your products and services right then and there.
But what is truly extraordinary about public speaking is that it allows you to start a relationship with everyone in the room. It’s as if you’re on a first date with a whole crowd of people. And since you’ve already been on a first day, this gives you the perfect reason to invite them on a second date by calling them up or sending them something that says, “Thanks for coming to my presentation. I hope you received some valuable information, etc., and by the way, I’m offering this free teleclass. Would you like to attend?”
There is one other aspect of public speaking that trumps all other marketing endeavors, and that is the shared experience. When you speak to a group, you are creating an experience that is shared by that group, and there is something so powerful, even magical, about that. Something happens when a group of people experience something together rather than separately.
For instance, if you go to see a play and you are the only person in the audience, it is a totally different experience than if you see it with a packed house. It’s the same play, the same material, the same content, but when it is experienced with a group, there is an energy of shared experience that transforms the play into something more than just it’s content.
This is what happens when you speak in public. You are co-creating a shared experience for you and your audience. And because you all experienced it together, there is a level of intimacy and trust that no press release, brochure or even a one-on-one interaction can come close to duplicating.
So, why don’t entrepreneurs rush to do tons of public speaking? There are usually three reasons. They don’t feel confident about getting up and being in front of a group. In other words, they don’t want to experience the stage fright, the nervousness that comes up for them. Another reason is they aren’t sure how to really connect with an audience. Sure, they can talk and talk and talk, but they don’t know how to engage a room full of people.
And the third reason is they don’t know what to speak about. They don’t know how to put together a speech that will show them in their best light, get the message across and work within the restrictions of that particular occasion.
In the upcoming installments of this series, I’ll be giving you some tips on how create great content for your speech. This isn’t an area I usually talk about, so I’ll be pulling in some other experts whom I admire to give you even more pointers and tips. Until thenâ€¦
Here is the audio file of the actual speech I gave on August 17.