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Speaking Your Way to Success

By Monique Harris

According to a survey by Trend Trackers 2000, a consulting firm in Los Angeles, California, fear of speaking in front of crowds is the second most popular phobia among business people. This is in spite of the fact that those in the communications consulting industry grossed over $150 million dollars last year.

So what does this mean to those business folks who aren't afraid to talk their talk on stage? Why good news of course. Good speakers are acknowledged as experts in their fields, thus obtaining customers becomes easier. Plus they can count on making as much as $500,000 more each year on speaking engagements, in addition to their regular businesses. And lastly, speaking is one of the cheapest, yet most effective marketing methods you can employ. You can cover much more ground by holding a mini-seminar for 25 prospects, instead of seeing each one individually.

Below you'll find several tips for speaking your way to new business. And for those of you who can't stand the thought of speaking in front of a crowd, this first one's for you:

* Send Prospects Audio Seminars. You fidget, jingle the change in your pocket, twist in your hair or tap your foot when faced with the task of giving a speech in front of some people. A simple solution for you is to send out an audio cassette with your own mini-seminar on it, to prospects.

Think about it, everybody sends out direct mailings. But often times they just get trashed by their receivers. People will rarely throw out an envelope that has something in it like a cassette. The curiosity factor just gets the best of them. Even if they just browse through the rest of your materials, they'll be 60% more likely to listen to at least half of a cassette.

You can use any previously written articles that you've done. Or if you've written a book, report or newsletter, you can use this material as well.

Whatever you do, make sure that it's 98% information you record or people won't listen to it all the way through. And should you develop a series of five or more audio cassettes, you can always sell them for extra revenue.

* Sign-up With Existing Seminar Companies. If you already have an interesting idea for a seminar, but you don't want to take the risk of laying out your own money to promote it, why not sign-up with an existing seminar company.

You come to the table with your expertise, they do everything else from promoting it, handling registrations, travel and so on. You may be required to sign some sort of contract saying that you will only present your seminar through their company and you may also be on the road a lot, but most presenters make between $50,000-100,000 a year and upwards depending on the topic.

* Offer Free Talks to Chambers of Commerce. Most Chambers offer a selection of meetings, expo's and talks throughout the year, however many are starved for quality speakers.

It helps if you're already a member, however you can still pitch your idea without being one. An advantage of being a member though is that you will receive a membership directory listing all the member's names, companies, addresses and so on. This is an excellent tool for building a mailing list and sending out follow-up materials after your presentation.

* Sponsor Your Own Free Seminars. People enjoy going to seminars, but even better, they love going to free seminars! Offering a free seminar can be the perfect open door for selling your products and services as well.

Most free seminars are only an hour or two in length and it helps if you have some sort of light finger foods like cookies and coffee. You can offer your seminar at a local hotel or at your office. There are also office support centers in many areas that rent out conference rooms by the hour. I happen to live in an apartment complex that has its own community center which they rent out by the hour. Many apartment, condominium and townhouse complexes also have a similar type of center.

Be sure to have some sort of hand-out for your attendees. This can be a summary of your talk along with any promotional information about your company. And spare some time after your seminar to chat with your audience. People sometimes have questions that they don't necessarily want to express in front the entire audience.

* Teach a Class. In almost every community there are at least one or two community colleges, and in larger cities there are also adult education centers like the franchised Learning Annex. These centers of learning are always on the look-out for quality teachers. Simply call them up and request a catalog of classes to see if your topic is already taken.

Although these teaching positions typically don't pay much, they do offer excellent exposure. Underneath the description of the class there's usually of brief bio of the teacher. This bio can include company name, any recent accomplishments, prominent clients, books or publications written and so on.

Sometimes people who can't attend your class will still contact you and use your services based solely on that bio. Sometimes the bio alone can bring in just as much, if not more, business than actually teaching the class!

Although the typical credo among business people is that it takes money to make make money, by using your speaking skills to enhance your marketing efforts you can easily increase your profits without breaking the bank.

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-- Monique Harris, that's me, is the president of Marketing Moguls, a Greenbelt, Maryland based marketing and public relations firm for businesses and authors who want to market their products and services both on and offline. I am also the author of "How to Make Yourself Famous in 6 Months or Less," which offers dozens of revenue enhancing promotional tactics from the mundane to the outrageous. If you should have any marketing, promotional or public relations questions, please feel free to drop me an e-mail. You can reach me via e-mail at: monique@connectionbank.com.

Stay amazing folks! Monique

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