Whether you’re comfortable speaking in front of a crowd or terrified by the prospect of it, the fact remains: If your small business holds an event or conference, the audience is going to expect a few words from you.
No one is expecting the Gettysburg Address, but people who attend your event are there to hear what you have to say. And you don’t want to disappoint them, do you?
If you want to nail your next small business event speech, step up to the mic and give these tips a try.
1. Start With a Heartfelt Welcome
Your audience shelled out some cash and gave up a chunk of their day to support you, so tit’s important to make them feel appreciated. Most speech writers will suggest you start off with a joke to break the ice, but if you’re not witty by nature, dispose with the jocularity in favor of a warm, sincere greeting.
2. Be Passionate
Excitement is contagious. Whether you choose to discuss your small business’ products or services, say a few words about what being a small business owner means to you or talk about your plans for the future of your company, be passionate about it!
Since it’s difficult to be dynamic when your nose is buried in a sheaf of papers, try to memorize your speech (or at least part of it). A discreet note card or two for backup is fine, but try to keep your eyes on the prize – that is, all the people who turned up to hear what you have to say.
3. Address Your Goals
You’ve put a lot of time, energy and money into this your small business event, and chances are good that you didn’t do it on a whim. What did you hope to accomplish by hosting the event? Are you attempting to garner new business, get new funding or introduce the audience to a new product or service?
Whatever it is, make sure that you address your goals in your speech. People want to know why you’re here, and more importantly, why they’re here. Don’t let them walk away wondering if they’ve wasted their time.
4. Close With a Thank You
Your audience may be loyal to you and your small business, but they didn’t have to spend their time at your event, no matter how well appointed the space or fantastic the swag. By attending, they’ve invested in you, even if you don’t make a dime off of it, so recognize their contributions. A genuine, thank you can make a huge difference in the way people feel about your event.
Public speaking may fell worse than a root canal, but with proper preparation and a game plan to follow, you’ll survive it.
Still need help? Drop Mischa Communications a line. We can’t reword Lou Gehrig’s Farewell to Baseball Address, but we can help you craft a speech that will get your message across loud and clear.