Which type of public speaking is best for your business?

Public Speaking is a really general term for all kinds of speaking that you may (or may not) do. In fact, over the years, I would say the even the words “public speaking” elicit fearful responses from most people I mention it to. 

So, how about you? What do you think of when you hear the words “Public Speaking”? Maybe it’s a business meeting, a stage, or something with a podium. Or maybe you think it as an inspiring talk or speech by someone. 

When it comes to you and your business, I want to explore 5 different kinds of public speaking you can use for business growth.

Even if you don’t currently own or run a business, you can apply these lessons to your workplace or social skills. 

1. The Networking Event

Wait, this is public speaking? Yes. Yes, it is. When you are attending a networking event – business or otherwise, you are bringing the public face of you and your business to the attention of others. Whether you are introducing yourself to an individual, or a table of people, this is public speaking at it’s simplest, so to speak. 

First impressions here are important and so you need some basic social skills/manners here to be at your best. What do you have to do? Be yourself, and be confident in what you and your business have to offer the group. 

Please, please don’t open a new acquaintance with the phrase; “So, what is your work/business?”. 

Be more creative and memorable. Try “What activities do you enjoy in your free time?”. or “Where is the most recent place you’ve travelled/taken a vacation?” or how about “What do you love about this part of the world?”. 

Not only do these questions take the pressure off you being “on”, but they will hopefully also put others at ease, too. Once you’ve broken the ice a little, then you can more naturally bring the conversation around to how your life and business intersect. 

2. Online Webinar or Masterclass Host

You’ve decided you’re going to host a webinar or a masterclass. So, you prepare your contents, your slides, and you set up your mailing list and invite people to the event. Only, as soon as you hit “record”, you freeze up, speak too quickly, and forget the most important point of your presentation. 

My first question to you is – Did you practice your presentation in advance? When you’re just starting out, unless you’re used to other forms of public speaking and performances, speaking your presentation may come as a bit of a shock. After all, your audience isn’t in the same room, so you won’t be nervous, right? 

Practice speaking your presentation – even when there is no audience. There is a difference between reading out loud and speaking. Practice speaking your presentation so that when it comes to running the webinar or masterclass, you’re confident in the speaking part so you can rock the personality part that will keep your audience interested. 

3. Hosting a seminar, workshop or class

Similar to the webinar, the workshop or class is a way for you to shine sharing your area of expertise. Yes, this is more likely to take the form of teaching and it is still considered public speaking. 

Usually there is more physical preparation involved – such as finding and booking the venue, arranging who will be present and how they’ll be invited/RSVPs, handling no-shows, etc. etc. However, the reason people are coming is to hear you speak. Publicly. 

And again, this comes down to practicing speaking your presentation and keeping your audience engaged. I usually include some group activities or an exercise that gets people out of their seats for a time. 

“Always be gracious, always be kind, and do your best to put people at ease.”

4. Master/Mistress of Ceremonies

You may be asking what this has to do for business activities – well, quite a lot. If you are asked to host an event, it’s a great opportunity for you to become more recognisable, but also a beautiful way for you to bring your special energy and magic to an event and make it memorable. You may have volunteered for this event, it could be a charity event, an MC at a wedding or anniversary, or other religious function. 

Regardless of how you come to be there, this is a  special type of public speaking that involves working with the event organizers to make sure the event is a success. You could be asking people to purchase raffle tickets, working in personal stories to hold the audience’s attention, introducing speakers, assigning people to tables, food order, etc. 

Always be gracious, always be kind, and do your best to put people at ease. 

5. Keynote or Mainstage Speech

This is usually the kind of “speech” people think of when they hear the words “Public speaking”. the keynote, mainstage speech, presentation, or similar is the one where you have the opportunity to bring your message to a wider audience. It’s one where you are usually speaking more broadly about an area of your expertise, and it could be in an inspiring or provocative way. 

You want this speech to be memorable for all the right reasons. Your slides (if you have any at all), should complement your speech, and not overpower it. 

The topic should be relevant to the audience. There’s a good chance that a room full of mechanics will not be interested in hearing about the latest trends in children’s clothing. 

You will probably already have some stage experience, or at least have hosted some workshops or other events. 

This is your opportunity to SHINE. When you are offered this opportunity, you show up prepared, having practiced your speech, and with relevant and exciting content for your audience. Find out if you are allowed to sell your products from the stage. If you are not allowed, then find a different way to connect with your audience that will have them searching you out. 

These are not the only forms of public speaking, but I would say they are the most common for women in business. If you are working for someone else, there are valuable tools and lessons you can apply to your business interactions, too. 

So, which ones are most appealing to you? Which ones terrify you? Which have you already used, and which ones do you want to start using?

I’ll be covering these types of speaking events and more in my next live round of “Ready to Speak in Six Weeks”, my signature public speaking program for women in business which begins on June 3, 2018. Find out more at www.jenlang.com/ready-speak-six-weeks

Liked this article? Share it around to your network or leave me a comment sharing your favourite form of public speaking. 

Jen Lang, Voice and Communications Coach