In 1989 I was sitting in the first row on a plane from Washington, DC to Dallas. At the last minute a passenger boarded and took the seat beside me. I said hello and introduced myself. He smiled, shook my hand and said, “I’m Jim Wright.”
I replied, “this is a great coincidence.”
He asked, “How’s that?”
I said, “You are The Speaker. (Speaker of the House of Representatives) and I am the president of the speakers.” Then I smiled.
He asked what I meant and I explained that I was the 1988-89 president of the National Speakers Association. We both laughed.
Then the politician in him came out. He asked me how many members we had, how often they delivered speeches, to how many audience members, and for what length of time.
I replied that we had over three thousand members who delivered on average fifty speeches a year to audiences averaging around 100 people for approximately one hour each time. He did the math and replied, “That is a VERY influential organization!”
Consider that 3,000 one hour speeches each week to one hundred people each produces a total of 15,600,000 person-hours of direct face to face influence per year in the most influential forum known to man. Yep, that is a VERY influential organization!
What if you could tell 100 people about your business…all at once?
What if you could do it several times a year? Do you think you could have some impact?
Well, you can do that and more by using public speaking as a part of your marketing mix.
Consider this, public speaking is the most persuasive forum available to us. The most persuasive.
Why? Because through a speech you have the opportunity to address a known audience for an extended time period in a setting where you can gain their undivided attention from the posture of being the leading expert (in that room) on your topic.
We have been trained since birth to value speakers. We watch them on TV, listen to them at school, at church, in political rallies, in Comedy Clubs, at concerts and through lecture series.
Whenever someone stands confidently in front of a group and delivers an address we naturally assume that they have the qualifications to speak there. We give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are telling the truth.
Their job is to assure that it is, in fact, the truth and that they tell it in such a way as to not lose the confidence we have invested in them.
Sure you can blow a huge opportunity by speaking poorly or being unprofessional or disrespectful to your audience. But for the most part, you have great influence whenever you give a speech. So, add speaking to your marketing mix.
Consider who might benefit from your message. Identify the submarkets and their interests. Learn how they think, what they care about, what they fear and what they need. Bring them a message that shows them how your products or services can get them what they want. Make it compelling by adding real life stories to your message. Liberally use the following statement, “What this means to you is…”.
Your magazine articles may reach a few key decision makers. Your television ads might reach a few. Your newspaper ads may reach some who will buy from you. But you cannot know for sure that anyone is going to see or hear them unless you deliver them yourself.
A speech on the other hand is delivered live and in person to people who you know about in advance. The success potential of a speech well delivered to the right audience is huge when compared to other forms of business development.
I gave a speech last year in Santa Barbara, CA and during my speech an executive got up, walked out of the room and called his office to ask them to hire me for an assignment with his company. He actually hired me DURING my speech! When I saw him leave the room that is the last thing I suspected he would do.
Develop your skills in speaking. Get comfortable and confident. Hire a coach, take a course, watch yourself on video, and become a good speaker. It will do wonders for your business and you will have a good time as well. And, by the way, sometimes you can also get paid for delivering the speech!