Friday, October 15, 2010

Public Speaking for Consultants: How to Choose a Topic

by Gilda Bonanno http://www.gildabonanno.com/

I enjoy answering reader questions. Here's a recent one:

Dear Gilda,
I want to start doing some speaking in my community.

I am a marketing consultant for small and medium sized companies, and particularly those in the technology field. I offer several different services, and would like to start speaking about topics. However, I am not sure how to start, and what topics to cover.

The audience could be technologists or a general audience, who would be interested in marketing topics.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

My response:
Speaking locally is a good way for consultants to build name recognition and client base.

Start by making a list of all the potential topics you could speak about. Think about the questions clients frequently ask you, the issues that you feel most passionately about, the interesting things you've noticed in your experience, the general overview you provide to people unfamiliar with the type of work you do, etc.

Once you have a long list of potential topics, then narrow it down to the topics that:

A) You are most knowledgeable about AND
B) You would enjoy speaking about AND
C) Your potential audiences would be most interested in AND
D) Will best highlight the areas of your business where you want to establish your expertise.

Once you've decided on the best topics, spend time preparing and practicing your presentation before you speak live in front of a real audience.

Whatever your topic, you want to establish yourself as an expert who can communicate effectively. Being an effective presenter means your presentation is clear, organized, focused on the audience's needs and delivered within the time limit.

To improve your public speaking, try the following suggestions:

• Join a local Toastmasters club to have a place to practice and get feedback http://www.toastmasters.org/
• Record yourself (video, audio) and get feedback from trusted colleagues or mentors
• Work with a presentation skills coach
• Practice, practice, practice!


Have a question? Post it in the comment comments section or send me an email. (And let me know if you'd like to remain anonymous if I answer the question in my blog.)

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

2 comments:

TJ said...

Your questioner should talk about success stories of how he she marketed a client and how it made the client much more profitable.

Gilda Bonanno said...

TJ,
That's a great idea - story telling can be a powerful way to communicate what you as a consultant can do for a client.