Blogging and public speaking are closely related pursuits so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the value derived from each is similar. When you write a blog post, over time you get to share your story with dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people who find their way to your post and read it. On the public speaking side of the equation, you get to share your story simultaneously with dozens hundreds or thousands of people who attend the event.
It’s all about content
Public speaking is content creation and sharing of the content. Most successful speakers I know do not “wing it” up on stage. There are steps you can follow to make sure your presentation resonates with the audience you will be speaking to. With or without a slide deck involved I follow this process.
1. Topic selection. When contacted by the event organizer they normally have a topic in mind. When submitting a speaking proposal I review past conference agendas and talk with past attendees to learn what they thought was of value at previous events.
2. Theme selection. Once I have a topic I look for three or four themes to carry throughout the presentation. For my recent Selling at (and to) a Higher Level presentation those themes turned out to be building authority, gaining trust and practicing sound salesmanship throughout the process.
3. Drill down into the themes. Look for fundamentals that make up the theme. Look back over your own career for stories to share that illustrate the good the bad and the ugly of each theme. I make a list of the stories I might tell and look at it often in the days leading up to the presentation. Often I don’t decide which stories to tell until I am on stage.
4. Decide what you will leave the audience with. Each presentation should end with one concise thought or suggestion to leave the attendees with. I conclude with a suggestion that audience members can use in their daily lives to improving on one of the key themes I have presented.
Arrive early and interact with attendees or group leaders. Get a feel for who will be there that day and what their exceptions of the presentation are. What are the needs and wants that have driven them to attend your presentation. This is where your long list of stories to tell will come in handy. Which ones to tell will become apparent. At least it does to me.
Stick around when you are done. Allow time to speak with each and every attendee who approaches the stage when you are done speaking. You already have eight ore more hours invested in this endeavor, Allowing thirty or forty-five minutes to speak with those who are interested only makes sense. The speaking stipend pays for the eight or more hours of preparation and travel time to attend the event. The leads that result from those audience members who approach the podium or contact you later is the big payoff.