The Importance of Public Speaking for Small Business – Pat Flynn

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Pat-Flynn-PinterestWhether or not you like talking in public, obtaining speaking skills and getting presentation gigs is almost mandatory these days. Do you know why public speaking is so important for your small business growth?

Do you know what elements make a good speaker and a great presentation?

If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many small businesses aren’t aware of how to get a speaking gig and what it takes to engage your audience. That’s why we asked Pat Flynn, podcaster, blogger, author, owner of Smart Passive Income, and self-proclaimed “crash test dummy of online business,” to show us how, in this week’s episode of The Marketing Agents Podcast.

Big Ideas:

  • How did you get started?
    • I went to school for architecture, worked for a firm until 2008 when I got laid off.
    • I began writing a blog and discovered online marketing. I turned it into a business, wrote an e-book, made over $7000 that month and then it all changed.
    • My income started growing so I started smartpassiveincome.com.
    • I created the site to show people how I did it and how they could do it.
    • I show everything – my wins, failures, and trials. I try new things out, new technologies, and new ways to make income.
    • I wanted to help people start off on the right foot and for people to learn from me.
  • How did you become a better public speaker?
    • Just sitting and waiting for traffic to come in works, but not very well. I made the conscious decision to work on my speaking skills.
    • I read as much as he could about speaking – Stand And Deliver by Dale Carnegie, Resonate by Nancy Duarte, Slideology, Zen Presentation, etc.
    • I watched a lot of presentations and Ted talks.
    • I looked at presentation styles I like and make notes of good and bad things, what is or isn’t working.
    • I speak a lot to get practice!
    • I hired a professional speaking coach.
    • I ask myself, “what transformation do I want the audience to have after my presentation? What’s the take away item? How do I stand out among other speakers at a conference?”
    • I try to be memorable and use tactics to get audience engaged.
    • I really focus on improving, getting others’ help, and getting help from pro coaches.
    • I find experts to learn from.
  • Why is public speaking so important?
    • Not everyone will do it so it’s a great way to stand out in your niche.
    • It increases your authority level. It gives you more credibility.
    • It opens up new opportunities.
    • If you can deliver on stage, then you get word of mouth.
    • People look up to you. People will listen to you when you’re on stage.
    • It’s a way to present your message and to share an important idea with your audience, it can help other people
    • You can deliver a business-changing message.

      If you are good at your job and have a message to share, you have an obligation to market your business to help out other people.

  • How do you land a speaking gig and how do you get started?
    • Get to know people at conferences, organizers, speakers, develop relationships with them to build a network.
    • Set up talks on things like meetup.com, and other small forums like local biz groups.
    • Practice on webinars.
  • What elements make a good presentation?
    • If you land a gig, figure out who your audience is and what they’re looking for at your talk. Deliver a message to bring them to that transformation point.
    • You want people to be different when they leave your presentation.
    • You want to open with a memorable story or something different.
    • Teach them through stories – something they can relate to.
    • Try to hook them with something compelling from the start.
    • Start with an tension breaker to loose up yourself and the audience.
    • Get people to move or do something – raise hands, audience participation, etc. “How many of you are first timers?” etc., make everyone look around.

      Tell them what you’re gonna tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.

  • How do you find out about your audience and what they’re looking for?
    • Talk to conference organizers:
      • Ask about who the attendees are and what they do.
      • Who else is speaking at the same event?
      • What was talked about last year at the event?
      • What is it people want out of this presentation?
    • Talk to past presenters.
    • Ask audience beforehand about what they want – set up site to poll audience.
    • Answer the questions they ask you.

      Most professional speakers have 5 or 6 presentations they repurpose for audiences. I have done about 12 separate presentations, but I definitely use some of the same stories or analogies.

  • What are your speaking tactics?
    • Spend time crafting the presentation, what would be relevant data.
    • Focus on something new to improve on with each talk.
    • A lot of the best speakers use motion in their presentations: body motions and hand motions.
  • Tell us more about the motion in your presentations.
    • If you’re moving and address people all over the audience, you make a great impression.
    • I used to walk back and forth in a small radius. I was nervous…and it showed.
    • Movements are great for transition and comparing or contrasting. Left/right gestures to compare/contrast and emphasize talking points.
    • When you have impactful moments in your talk, stay still and let the words make the impact.
    • Break your talk into parts and use movement to emphasize these parts.
    • It’s like chapters of a book – end of chapter, pause or take a sip of water, etc.
  • How do you mentally prepare or psych yourself up for a presentation?
    • Go to venue and stage to see where you’re speaking and try to get on stage to get used to room. It helps you know what to expect.
    • Go to conference early or spend time before talk to get to know people, meet people to get comfortable with audience.
    • Focus on the people that resonate with you, it’ll help motivate you.
    • Rehearse a lot – practice your intro and outro several times.
    • The more you practice, the more you get in a groove.
    • Whatever makes you feel more comfortable, do more of that.
    • When traveling or with down time, practice intro to make it sound as natural and comfortable as possible.
  • What do you do for your visuals when you’re doing a presentations?
    • Slides are there to emphasize a point made or making.
    • Use an image and a few words.
    • I don’t rely on visuals, but they do help trigger certain points during stories.
    • I don’t use bullet points.
    • I go to slideshare.net to see what slide styles inspire me.
    • I try different styles or motifs.
    • I keep slides the same color scheme and will even dress the same colors during talks.
    • Images or visual cues might help audience subconsciously connect with your presentation.
    • Include relevant studies or data to back up your talking points.
    • Use visuals to compliment talk, not drive it.
  • Where do you get the images for your slides?
    • istockphoto.com.
    • You can include photo costs into presentation fee.
    • I spend time finding good images that go with your theme – it helps make the audience connect.
    • The image should support your story or talking point.
  • What do you do to try to get your audience to take action after your talk?
    • Sometimes, it’s not all on you, it’s on them.
    • Hand out a form that people can give contact info so you can connect with them.
    • Hold your audience accountable.
    • Remind audience to connect afterwards to get feedback, connect as a client, etc.
    • Always repost your presentation to your email list so it includes your audience or reminds them, and it lets people view it that have missed it.
    • Offer an incentive to audience members afterwards to keep engagement going.
    • Do something to keep momentum and excitement going. It could lead to new business or networking.
    • Automate post-presentation communication or networking steps.
    • Create a Facebook group or Twitter list to keep people engaged and accountable.
    • Figure out a way to find if your advice has helped your audience later on.
    • Have audience text a special number to communicate via text afterwards with a service like MoGreet.
    • I created a clicked tweet with ClickToTweet to send audience to a page to a pre-populated tweet to send or tweet and patislive.com to share tweets.
    • Get people to commit to something and then let them decide how to keep themselves accountable.
    • Telling people what your goal is at the start can be very powerful.

      Commitment is a weapon of influence.

Juicy Links:

Rich Brooks
Always Be Measuring

  • Rich, thank you for having me on your podcast! I appreciate you!

    • Pat, it was my pleasure. Just finished listening to the interview again. Great stuff!