By Sarah Gallop
As 2007 comes to an end, most of us are spending time with family, taking time off and getting excited about Starbucks’ newest holiday fare (have you tried the peppermint lattes?!). This season, however, I encourage you to think about development initiatives to jump start business in 2008. From newsletters to word-of-mouth, interior designers are usually good about marketing themselves—except when it comes to the public speaking circuit.
The benefits of speaking in front of crowds are many—whether it is to prospective clients, fellow design professionals or associations and organizations. Not only do presentations lead to networking opportunities and possible media attention, but they can also affect the growth of your business by increasing your credibility in the industry. Good places to start as your 2008 calendar unfolds are market events, trade shows, design schools, international design shows and even webinars. Check out ASID’s Event Calendar for inspiration.
As you are exploring opportunities, I encourage you to consider the following pointers from career coach and author Michael Melcher:
1. Good public speaking is not about giving speeches. You audience wants to learn something, network, enjoy themselves, and have their time used effectively.
2. Learning comes from participating, not from being lectured. People learn by working with material. The more you create interactive learning, the more your audience will learn and the happier they will be.
3. A great speech is about energy as much as words. Mediocre speakers focus solely on words. Think about what energy is needed in the room (humor? simplicity? concern?) and then model it.
4. Don’t talk too much. Whatever the length of your speech, it should probably be shorter. Make every word count!