Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of giving my How to Write Blog Posts that Get Results presentation at WordCamp Hamilton 2015.
If just the thought of public speaking makes you anxious, you might be questioning how I can describe such an experience as a pleasure. I get it!
Not long after I started my business, I was invited to speak at a local bookstore, and it was just too good a marketing opportunity to turn down. I was so terrified, that I was actually relieved when no one showed up – scheduling it at the same time as an NHL playoff game was probably not the best idea – even though it meant I didn’t get the chance to promote my services.
Since then, I’ve had many opportunities to share my expertise with a variety of audiences, and it’s definitely gotten easier. Even though I’m still anxious for days ahead of time, once I get up to speak, it’s a great feeling to realize how much I have to offer. Because I didn’t shy away from public speaking –despite being an introvert who had only spoken to groups when it was required for grades – I’ve reaped many rewards that might otherwise have passed me by. I’ve listed several of them here.
7 Rewards of Developing Presentation Skills
- Your exposure extends beyond the people who hear you speak to anyone who sees the event promotions (and of course, to their extended networks as well).
- Those who hear you speak get to connect with you on a personal level, contributing greatly to the ever important “know – like – trust” factor.
- The audience become aware of your expertise and how you can help them or others they know.
- Giving free presentations allows you to build the confidence and competence you’ll need if you’d eventually like to get paid to speak.
- Listing your past presentations and workshops on your website causes it to come up when local organizations search for a speaker or presenter.
- Once you have some presentations created, you can quickly step in when someone needs a speaker on short notice.
- Workshop content can be repurposed into blog posts, e-books, and other applications.
The benefits aren’t limited to business success, either. Becoming a competent public speaker will help you to communicate more effectively in every aspect of your personal and professional lives.
How to Become a Confident and Effective Speaker
Just like any other activity, your speaking skills will increase as you gain an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. Trial and error is not the fastest way to develop competence at most things, so you might want to add presentation skills training to your professional development plan
I attended a public speaking seminar at our community college, which was quite helpful, but there are many other options. There’s a vast range of presentation skills courses available both on and offline and some companies, like Activia, even provide you with free eLearning revision materials to use after your classroom session to help you get the most out of your training.
I’ve never been to Toastmasters, but I’ve learned some really useful strategies from people who are members. They have thousands of clubs in hundreds of countries, so clearly lots of people find it beneficial.
If you’re an experienced speaker, how have your presentation skills contributed to your success?
If you haven’t tried it yet, what’s holding you back?