It's extremely important to measure progress in your small business. There are so many ways…
(VIDEO) How Public Speaking Opportunities Can Help Your Small Business
I could have just been in the audience. I could have sat there like the hundreds of others attending the National Mediation Conference on the Gold Coast last September. But when I saw the call for people to submit expressions of interest to be a presenter, I thought, why not? So I started drafting my submission.
Roll forward a few weeks and I found out I had been accepted. To say I was ecstatic, excited and elated would be an understatement! This was the first conference I would speak at, and it was a national conference.
The day came. My timeslot arrived. There would have been over 200 in the room and I used all 25 minutes of my allotted time.
It’s no secret that I’m comfortable in front of an audience but I had forgotten how much of a buzz I get from standing in front of people and sharing my knowledge. My topic was controversial; it was a call to action for workplace mediators to think differently about the services they offered.
By the time I was finished, I was on a high. But little did I know what was to come.
At the end, a few people came to speak to me, sort of like groupies I think (wink) and one of those was the national manager of a nation-wide organisation. During our conversation she asked if I’d be interested in undertaking some work for their organisation. Certainly, I replied in my calmest of manners – while inside I was doing cartwheels with excitement.
You see, I wasn’t seeking work from this conference because I was presenting to people who were my peers – other mediators. And of course, they’re not my target market!
But the valuable lesson I learned is to realise you never know who you’re talking to. If I had not taken the opportunity to present at the conference, I would never have made that contact and would not be receiving ongoing work today.
For those who aren’t confident in presenting in public, I share this story of a fellow I met through Toastmasters International. On his first night, Brian, a baker was hardly able to stand and say his name. And that’s similar to many people on their first visit to Toastmasters. Due to work commitments, I wasn’t able to attend for 12 months. But upon my return to the club, I was amazed, impressed and so excited for Brian. He delivered a 5-minute speech. His transformation was amazing. And I’ve seen others do it too. It is possible.
There are plenty of places where you can enhance your profile by speaking so others know who you are and what you do. Check out your local chamber of commerce – sometimes they are looking for presenters. Does your accountant hold business information sessions for their clients? Or would it be of valuable for you to host your own session with your own clients?
If you’re looking for business to come to you in 2017, rather than you being one of a crowd seeking work, I urge you to seek out speaking opportunities. You never know who’s listening.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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