I received an e-mail from a friend in the retail nursery business. She will speaking before 60 people today. Like most of us in the business she realizes it's important, but that doesn't make it any easier. She really just wanted to be reminded of what all of us know, public speaking is a great, but scary way to reach potential customers. Here is the e-mail I sent back to her. Your right! Its too important not to do this. I don't know if you are taking props along, but I have found that when I have something to hold in my hand it helps. I almost always bring some samples of plants, gardening tools, or some fertilizer thats new. Also I like to have some type of handout that everyone can take away with them, of course with our name, phone number, web page, and address on it. Encourage questions right from the get go. Get a couple of good questions, and its just like being at the nursery. As a matter of fact you have to be careful about the questions, since the next thing you know you have run out of time! Also if possible move around a bit. Don't just stand behind a table. It helps keep the blood flowing and keeps the audience aware.
We know it but its hard to quiet that little, sometimes loud voice in our heads. You have to embrace your fear! As hard as it is to do, the times when my business or I have grown is when we have done something that made me nervous, or frightened. The results we're so worth it! So many people miss out on the great things in life because of fear. Think about how great you will feel when its all done and its achieved the results you wanted.
After being in the business as long as we have we forget that we are the experts! You'll be fine, and at the end the audience will want to come up and tell you just how great your talk was. In addition other offers to talk will arrive, since its so hard to get anyone to speak. I use to try and space these talks out because I just didn't like the fear component. Now I will jump at the offer to talk to just about any group. By jumping right back in it starts to become just a regular thing that I do, and the fear diminishes over time. Never completely gone, but much diminished.
Our small garden center works just too hard to stay in business that to miss out, or allow someone else to speak to all those potential customers just will not do. It's amazing what you can do when the survival and growth of your business is at stake. If we don't get out there and spread the word, no one else will. Or, the competition will finally figure it out and do it themselves.
Here is a link to another post on public speaking.