Presentations that Promote Your Business

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Presentation Skills

Six Easy Steps for Getting Started with Presentations that Promote Your Business

The topic of how to establish yourself as an expert speaker is a huge one. There are literally thousands of books, websites, classes, and coaching programs on the subject.

The other day I was having coffee with a business owner who offers financial planning services.

Now most business owners I talk with like what they do to a greater or lesser degree. But this guy positively overflowed with enthusiasm for what he does.

He actually managed to get me interested in the topic of 401k rollovers; a topic I usually find about as exciting as watching paint dry.

So I said to him, "Ryan, you seem like a natural for giving presentations and classes.

It would be a great way to connect to prospective clients.

Do you do anything like that?"

Ryan's face lit up and he said "I love to teach people and present!"

Then he said: "But I have no idea how to get started.

How do I do that?"

Great question.

The topic of how to establish yourself as an expert speaker is a huge one. There are literally thousands of books, websites, classes, and coaching programs on the subject. But let's say you're like Ryan--you enjoy talking to groups and you want to try presentations as a way to promote your business.

I was in the exact same place as Ryan about two years ago. Since then I've learnt a lot about using presentations as a way to promote my business to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Six steps that got me started as a presenter

Step 1. Start with local membership organisations

Most cities--large and small--have hundreds of organisations whose purpose is to support members and do so by offering education, training, networking opportunities, and so on.

For this reason, they are always looking for ways to provide value to their members. If you can present a topic that members will find valuable and fits within the organisation's mission, you are offering something desirable...especially if you have a fresh or unusual take on your topic.

Step 2. Brainstorm a list of topics you like to speak on

If you're like Ryan and are using presentations as a way to introduce yourself to prospects, each topic should address a particular problem that you handle for your customers and a success story related to the problem.

As a financial planner, Ryan tends to encounter problems related to life transitions--voluntary and involuntary. For example, the happy occasion of a new baby also brings up questions such as: "Do we need a bigger house?" "Do we need to trade in our Mini Cooper for a mini van?" and "Do we need to start saving for college?"

Step 3. Meet the Program Director

Call the program director (or whoever arranges events) and briefly explain your intention for presenting. If the organisation needs presenters and the program director expresses interest, this is a perfect time to describe 2-3 topics that seem like a good match to the interests of the organisation.

NOTE: If none of the topics you suggest interest your contact, ask them what their members consider "hot topics". You may be able to adapt one of your topics to meet the needs of their members.

Step 4. Help the organisation with promoting your program

When you successfully schedule a presentation with one or more organisations, help make the presentation a success. You can do this by providing a brief bio (1-2 paragraphs), a summary of your topic, and a photo of yourself. Most program managers ask for these materials in advance and use them to promote upcoming programs.

You may also want to prepare a short introduction that the organisation can use to introduce you to the audience.

Step 5. Earn your right to promote by adding value

Have you ever sat through a presentation that was promoted as informational but turn out to be a thinly veiled sales pitch? Were you annoyed? Most people are. And this is why you focus on content first; promotion second.

The most effective presentations offer information that is genuinely relevant and useful to your audience. That allows you to position yourself as a provider of valuable solutions.

You should, of course, make your contact information, email address and web address easy to find and use. I always include my full contact information on the last page of my presentation handouts. In addition, each page of the handouts has my business
name and website address in the footer section.

Step 6. Know what the next step is that you want your audience to take

The biggest place where people mess up is on follow-up. They do their presentation. They chat with people in the audience. And then they leave hoping that members of the audience are so excited by what they learnt that they will be calling the presenter the next.

But this is rarely the case.

So, you need to be very specific about what you want your audience to do and make it easy for them to take that action. This doesn't have to be anything complicated or fancy. A simple but effective approach is ask for their business cards in exchange for more information on the topic you presented. Give aways audiences like include a copy of the presentation handout, a list of resources, a helpful report, and so on.

You can then use the contact information as the basis for future invitations, mailings, and so on.

IMPORTANT: If you use an email subscription list, I strongly suggest you add only those members who opt-in. In this way you are contacting only those explicitly agreed to become subscribers. If you begin contacting people who did not give you permission, you risk being labelled a spammer. Even worse, you risk losing credibility as a trusted expert.

Bottom Line

If you follow the six steps I've described *and* present a relevant topic in an engaging way, you'll have plenty of opportunities to present. Once you have some experience, you can refine your presentation topics and focus on organisations whose missions and membership are the best fit with the products and services you offer.

This article was contributed by Judy Murdoch

Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and five-star strategic alliances. You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@judymurdoch.com

 

Presentation Skills Training

Impact Factory runs

Open Presentation Skills Courses

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Five Day Presentation With Impact Workshops

and

personalised One-to-One Presentation Coaching

for anyone who is interested in Presentation Issues

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