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Putting Public Speaking in Perspective

More people should be speakers. Maybe everybody? Okay, not everybody, but I meet people all the time who have great information audiences would love to hear about. If it’s appropriate, I might even encourage someone to consider public speaking. Very few of the people I talk to are ready to take the plunge though.
 
It’s easy to understand why too. Their list of reasons for why they don’t want to use public speaking to help grow their business (which is usually a fear-based list) is longer than their list of reasons to speak.
 
You have an advantage over them. As a speaker, you’re experiencing the opportunities and advantages public speaking provides first hand. In addition to the two most common reasons as to why people decide to add public speaking to their business—getting more clients and making more money—here are several more great reasons:
 
  • To make connections
  • To share knowledge
  • To grow your reputation
  • To establish yourself as an expert
  • To position yourself in your market place
  • To build your brand
  • To sell something
  • As a faster path to success
Now, let’s flip the switch a bit to consider the situation from the perspective of the people sitting in your audience by asking this question:
 
Why do people listen to speakers?
 
Hmmm . . . interesting because if you look at the list above it’s a totally legitimate list of reasons to speak, but none of them really answers this question. This isn’t a quiz though, so here’s a collection of reasons why someone would choose to sit in your audience beyond “the boss told me I had too” reason:
 
  • They want to learn something
  • They’re looking for a solution to a problem
  • They’re interested in possibilities and opportunities
  • They’re ready to consider what you’re offering
  • There’s something in it for them
 
Next question:
 
What would your list of reasons to speak look like if you
incorporated their list into yours?
 
For example, if one of your speaking goals is to make an offer for a product or service you know is going to solve a problem for people in your audience, then that’s an intersection between you selling something and them being ready to consider what you’re offering. 
 
Every speaker should be looking for ways to make sure their reasons for speaking intersect with their audience’s reasons for listening. If you’ve ever felt like you were having trouble getting traction, or like you were almost there but it still felt like something was missing, this may be the reason why. So take an inventory of your list, put some thought into the reasons that would be on your audience’s list, and then figure out where and how the two can be connected.