Business Networking Tip #9: Give Speeches To Groups

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Meeting people face-to-face at networking events provides quality conversation time, but it can be a slow process to build a network of contacts.

Many networkers have found that public speaking can attract quality contacts much faster than one-to-one networking.

Many civic groups and business groups are eager to have speakers present informative, educational, and inspirational speeches and presentations to their members.

While practically all local groups expect speakers to volunteer to speak for free, it's an opportunity to highlight what you know and what you do.

Look through the calendar in your local business newspaper, daily newspaper, or various online calendars, such as SureToMeet, to find groups that have speakers at monthly meetings. Then, send them a brief proposal offering to speak to their group.

Be specific and talk about the things you know best. Don't try to teach people everything you do. Focus on no more than two or three areas of what you want them to learn about. Most importantly, cover the topics you feel you understand the best. This will reduce some of your stress.

Use handouts, visuals, or PowerPoint slides to support your presentation. For people who are worried about stage fright, these props can help carry them through the talk. These tools help communicate to your audience -- and serve as an outline to remind you of what to say.

Here are a few types of organizations that use speakers at events:

  • Chambers of commerce
  • Community service clubs
  • Industry specific associations
  • Professional associations

You are probably a member of at least one of these groups (see Tip #4), so you may already know the person in that group who schedules speakers.

One of the benefits of networking through public speaking is that after your speech, people who are especially interested in your topic will come up and introduce themselves, and give you their business card. Others in the audience will write down your contact information (from your last slide or from the host organization's event materials).

It takes time and effort to work this process, but the benefits of public speaking are tremendous.

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