When I started my first business I had no experience speaking in public. I worked with customers that had technology issues and I mostly spoke in the language of techno speak. I spoke in terms that I knew with many acronyms and computer slang. As I worked more closely with the actual users I had to change to speaking in terms that they could understand. The terms I used were that same terms that they used when they wanted me to do something for them. I did not try to tell them how I was going to do something.

As I grew the business I discovered that I needed to be able to speak on many different levels from the executives to the employees. They each had a different need as some needed more details than others. This is when I discovered Toastmasters.

When I joined Toastmasters, I thought I would check it out for a few months to see if it helped me in my business. I soon discovered that I used many filler words like ah, um, you know, things like that, and so on. In Toastmasters, they made a point of counting how many times I used filler words or improper use of words. This helped me to be attentive to when I was doing this. They also gave me ideas for how to eliminate the filler words. To do this, place a pause in where you are using them. Many times I would use them when I am thinking of the next idea.

If you are considering using public speaking as a marketing tool, I highly recommend that you join a supportive Toastmasters club. I have been in a club since 2007 when I originally thought it would only be a few months. You learn so much from all the members and practice, practice, practice.

I also took some training on how to design your talk in a manner that keeps you audience connected to your topic. It also taught me when to present your call to action or offer that will keep your audience connected to you. You don’t want people to just leave your talk without having a way to stay connected to them. Why give a talk if you have nothing to offer your audience?

Here are some ideas for designing your talk so that you get the desired outcome which is more leads, customers or clients.

A Point: Have a least one point. Depending on the amount of time you have for the talk, have up to 3 points. Take each point and outline the content you will talk about. Make sure that your points are clear and have a before and after story of someone you have helped related to the topic. Where were they when you started and where are they now? Can your audience relate to the story? You can use the story as a memorable point in your talk.

Name the Point: Does your point stand out by what you call it? Is it humorous and easily understood? By naming your point it is easier to remember what the content is about and the related before and after story. A name for a point may be something like “Confess Your Stress” in a talk about stress relief and the content would be about telling others about your issues or what is causing the stress.

Powerful Questions: Include some questions that connect with your audience to keep them engaged with the topic. The questions help them to pause and to think about themselves and how they would respond. You don’t want them asking questions during your talk as it will get your talk off track. You ask the audience to reflect on how they would feel if they were part of the story.

In the next few posts we will be presenting other ideas and topics related to using public speaking in your marketing efforts.