In these days of websites, blogs, Squidoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s easy to forget a very powerful form of business promotion: public speaking. Don’t get me wrong, a strong web presence can and should be used by those seeking to promote their careers or businesses. But, don’t forget that a face-to-face connection still means a lot to many people. And, a well-crafted, well-delivered speech can get your message across like nothing else.
Consider Barack Obama, whose powerful speech and delivery before the 2004 Democratic Convention helped propel him onto the national stage. While he certainly used the internet and social networking sites to his advantage during his campaign for president, it was his incredible oratory skills which helped him deliver his message of hope and change to the nation.
Of course, not many people have the oratory skills of a Barack Obama or a John F. Kennedy or a Bill Clinton. Some people are just natural born public speakers. But, even learning some basic public speaking skills can go a long way to help you promote your business.
How Public Speaking Can Help Your Business
How can giving a great speech help your business? Giving a speech puts a face on your business. It can help you move others to action, such as buying your book, visiting your website, or using your services. And, when people like what they hear, they’ll tell others about you.
Where to Learn How to Give a Speech
The first place you can learn how to give an effective speech is by observing great speakers, either on television, the internet or in person. You can watch Barack Obama’s 2004 speech from many different websites, as well as other great speeches or parts of speeches from other great speakers. YouTube is a great place to start to find a great speech from which to learn effective speaking techniques.
Books containing the texts of great speeches can help as well, although you don’t have the advantage of hearing them delivered. But, you can spot certain techniques in reading a written speech, such as how the speech writer uses the technique of repeating key phrases either at the beginning or end of sentences, which can be very effective to move audiences.
Of course, watching a great speaker in person is the very best way to observe good public speaking techniques. Watching a speaker on television or the internet can be very effective as well, but it’s good to watch a speech which isn’t enhanced by good camera work or editing. A great speaker knows how to give a great speech without the aid of a close-up. It’s also good to observe how a speaker works with or without a podium, or handles audio visual equipment or other visual aids. Most big cities attract well-known speakers for speakers series, which can be a good opportunity to observe a great presentation.
You may also want to consider taking a class on public speaking at the local community college, joining a Toastmaster’s group, or attending a Dale Carnegie course.
How to Handle a Fear of Public Speaking
If you have a fear of speaking in public, it probably doesn’t surprise you that stage fright, or a fear of public speaking, is one of the biggest fears people have. It even tops the fear of dying! What can be done about it? For many people, using hypnosis to get over their fear of speaking in public has helped immensely. Visualizing, or imagining while under trance, allows people to “trick” their minds into thinking they have no fear. While under a hypnotic trance you can imagine yourself giving a speech with no anxiety whatsoever. You can also be given an “anchor”, such as touching your index finger and thumb together whenever you begin to feel anxiety, which can help lessen the effects of stage fright.
Though most people don’t want to hear this, the best way to deal with your fear of public speaking is to practice. Again, if you have a paralyzing fear of getting up in front of others and delivering a speech, you may wish to consider hypnosis. But, for those who have a mild fear, or those who have gone through hypnosis or other relaxation techniques for their anxiety, practicing giving speeches is vital. Practicing not only will help give you confidence, but will also prove to you that your fear of giving a speech is much worse than actually giving one.
Where to Practice Giving a Speech
Joining a Toastmaster’s group is one of the best places to practice giving speeches. Not only will you gain confidence getting up in front of people, but you’ll also receive feedback on areas where you’re doing well, in addition to areas you need to improve.
For those with a business or service to promote, giving free speeches to community organizations or Chambers of Commerce can not only give you practice speaking in public, but can help you promote your business to potential customers. And, reaching potential customers is your ultimate goal.