Speaking of Marketing…

Don Cooper How would you like a marketing opportunity that’s not only free, but includes a meal in the bargain? They’re occurring all around you, five days a week. Local service clubs (Lions, Rotary, Moose, Optimist, Kiwanis, etc.) are constantly in need of speakers for their regular breakfast and lunch meetings. Speaking at these events can give you valuable exposure at absolutely no cost. Here are some tips for making an effective presentation to a local group.

Start with the End

What do you want your audience to do once you are finished speaking? (Besides give you a standing ovation.) What results do you want to accomplish? Is your goal to entertain, to inform, or to persuade? To create your message, start with the end result you want and work backward from there.

Don’t Sell

Your topic should not be your product or service. You are being invited to share information, ideas, and insights, not to sell to the audience. Nobody wants to listen to a twenty minute commercial. What special expertise do you have that you can share with your audience to enrich their lives?

Get Some ELP

An effective presentation combines three elements: ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos refers to the credibility and believability of the speaker. This can be established by giving the person who introduces you a written introduction that highlights your experience and credentials. Logos means logical argument and progression. Use facts, figures, and reason to support your position. Pathos refers to emotional impact. Tell stories to create an emotional connection, focusing especially on the five "e-factors": fear, guilt, pride, greed, and love.

Be a Clock Watcher

The time allotted for guest speakers is typically ten to thirty minutes, with twenty minutes being most common. Find out in advance how much time you are being given and tailor your presentation to fit. Going too long indicates to your audience a disrespect for their time and will turn them against you. Also, be prepared to cut down your presentation if the meeting goes long.

Your audience, and especially your host, will greatly appreciate it.

Let Them Take You Home

No matter how good you are, people will forget you soon after you leave. So give them some kind of a handout to improve your memorability. It can be something they take notes on, an information sheet, or both. In any case, it should be something of lasting value to give them reason to look at it repeatedly. And, of course, it should include your complete contact information.

Hone Your Skills

If your speaking skills are not as good as you would like them to be, then do one of three things: Take a public speaking class through an adult education programs in your area; join Toastmasters International (1-800-9-WE-SPEAK or www.toastmasters.org); or work with a professional speech trainer (as a matter of fact, I am, thank you for asking). Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. Figure out which one (or more) is best for you based on your needs, budget and time frame.

Once you have figured out what you are going to say (and practiced a lot), start asking people you know what groups they are involved in and who is responsible for finding speakers. Depending on their schedules, they may book people several days or several months in advance. Be sure to bring plenty of business cards because you’ll have a great opportunity to network both before and after the event. And who knows, once you have seen and experienced the benefits of these clubs, you may even decide to become a member.

© 1998, Don Cooper and Guerrilla Seminars
(703) 250-1677 -- don@doncooper.com -- www.doncooper.com
This article may be reprinted, unaltered, as long as this complete copyright statement
is included. For information on additional or customized articles or talks, please
contact Don by phone or e-mail.

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