If you want to turn your business into a household name, you need to polish your public-speaking skills, says Simone Brown, founder of StockTheMind LLC, a project management consulting and training firm. Since founding her company in 2003, Brown says her strategy has been to "influence the influencers." She knows her target market goes to seminars, joins professional organizations, watches particular TV shows and listens to specific radio shows. "If you can put yourself in that arena and position yourself as an expert--and have those people in your target market hear from you in that space--you've gone a long way in terms of reaching their ears," says Brown, 35.
Once you get that speaking gig, hone your presentation to make it appealing and valuable for the people attending. Be visual, funny and attach your brand to it. Keep in mind, for example, that a mompreneur group will seek different information than a room full of corporate project managers. Says Brown, "You've got to understand the goal of the event and who your audience is."
You can also look into being a guest on a radio show, as Brown did. Brown once made such a strong impression as a guest, the producer asked her if she wanted to have her own show. You may be able to buy time, especially on AM channels, says Brown, who has used public speaking to build her Pembroke Pines, Florida, company to $200,000 in annual sales.
Networking with key organizations in your industry is your first step; these groups will offer meetings, seminars and webinars. "All these organizations need someone credible and engaging to put in front of their constituency," Brown says. To get your foot in the door, build a rapport with the people on the boards of those organizations.
—By Nichole L. Torres.
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