In my long experience working with business owners and professionals who want to raise their profile, there are two things that really help them get noticed. The first is to write a book, and move into that circle of people who actually got off their arses (well, perhaps not literally) and write the damn thing. The second is to speak in public.
Yes, I know it’s meant to be the scariest thing in the world, even more than death (seriously?), but everyone else knows that too, and how could you better to illustrate how confident , together and passionately committed you are unless it is by getting up there and speaking about your chosen subject.
Authors and speakers seem to exude some quality that inspires admiration and appreciation in others. I am more of a natural writer than a speaker, but over the years I have taken any speaking opportunities that have come my way. I’ve spoken at conferences, networking events, panels and on air.
My move into speaking was partly motivated by laziness. That may sound odd, but think about going to a networking event and conference as a participant. You may meet a number of people over the coffee break or lunch during the event or day. However, realistically, you will genuinely connect with a small handful of them. As a speaker, everyone in the room will know who you are. You will hopefully connect with everyone (this is where looking your audience in the eye or getting some interaction going comes in handy) and everyone will go away with your contact details, a clear idea of what you do and whether you can help them. This is so much more effective than making small talk over what train you took to get to the venue.
If you are an introvert, like me, speaking is ideal. You are up there, saying what it is you want to say, but on your terms. Other people aren’t draining your energy, encroaching on your space and droning on while you wait quietly for a gap in the conversation to add your tuppence worth.
I’m a big fan of self-growth, and stepping up to do some speaking will stretch you in ways you never thought possible. If you’re new to it, you will be surprised at how powerful that adrenaline can be. As you grow in confidence you’ll find yourself making jokes whilst secretly wondering “where did that come from?” You might find that you develop a bit of a stage persona, invest in slinky outfits that add a dash of the theatrical, or find yourself eying up shoes in a shop window and pondering whether they would look good on stage. In short, you will have find yourself having fun!
Paula Gardner uses a mix of business psychology and her background in PR and marketing to help her clients become bolder, get noticed and stay authentic. You can read about her business mastermind groups, Scarlet Thinking’s Hot House by clicking here.