Speaking about your industry is a very effective way to establish your credibility and promote your business at the same time.
It is the perfect opportunity to show your audience how much you know about the industry, and also a way to let them find out a bit about you through the examples you give, experiences you share and the jokes you tell.
Think about the speakers who appeal to you, and why, when working out how you will approach your speaking engagement. Do they move around a lot, do they stand still, do they make you laugh, do they have you holding your breath?
Here are some tips to wow your audience with your knowledge:
• Be confident – keep in mind you know more about your topic than the people in the audience, so forget about those nerves
• Make great eye contact – this shows your connection with the audience, but can also help to ground you when you need a boost
• Avoid acronyms – yes, you are the expert, but the audience wants to know more, so you won’t make any friends by speaking in letters they don’t yet understand
• Wear comfortable clothes – don’t distract the audience from what you are saying by fidgeting with what you are wearing
• Be entertaining – keep your audience interested and attentive with case studies, questions and smiles
• Use real examples – show you know your stuff with the right evidence. Talk about how you solved a problem or a win in your business
• Invite questions – the final piece in the jigsaw in establishing your credibility and trustworthiness is getting the audience to ask you questions and then answering openly and honestly.
While a speaking engagement is a good time to speak about your business and/or products and services you offer, don’t make that the main focus. Mention your experience at the beginning to show your credentials and then speak about any relevant products and services at the end, if appropriate.
The key is to leave your audience inspired and wanting to know more.