If you want decent exposure to the people in your network of support… you must go out of your way to spread the good news about business networking.
Speak to networking groups. Not just networking groups, but any group that may allow you to speak. Don’t talk about your business. Let the person who introduces you do that. Write your own introduction. Be a guest speaker! It really is an effective way to get exposure for you and your business quickly.
If you’re not comfortable with public speaking, then try easing it into it with a small group like a networking mixer or luncheon. Try not to let the fear of speaking, networking and positioning yourself as an expert in your field, scare you.
What will you talk about? Prepare a 10 to 15 minute talk that goes info detail about the “Top 5” things that have benefited you the most when you network. If you have more time, present the “Top 10.” When you’re talking about something you know and are passionate about, public speaking and networking isn’t as bad as it sounds. It’s actually quite exhilarating!
Always hand out quality marketing materials – brochures, business cards, etc. – to those in attendance, complete with your contact information. If they want to contact you they will have everything they need. Meeting planners frown upon speakers who use their speaking time to promote their own business. Stick to your topic and give lots of tips.
Want to know a secret. This is how I started my professional speaking career. I spoke to any group that would have me. By the way, most groups are always looking for speakers. After a year or so, larger groups, Chambers of Commerce, Civic groups, Associations, etc., began to call me to be their featured speaker.
Always be friendly and prepared when speaking to someone who books you as a speaker or a journalist. Even if you don’t have much experience in media relations, simply being polite and offering the information a reporter needs can carry you through. Make friends with the media. Your connections will go a long way in helping you to obtain the media exposure your business needs.
While you may not want to be a professional speaker, speaking to business groups is always a decent way to get exposure for you and your business. It’s a great way to get your business noticed. Once you get proficient in presenting your talk, the next step is to volunteer your talk to radio talk shows. Blog about your networking tips. Use Twitter and Facebook to get the word out.
It works best if while offering your talk or your tips online to not try to sell YOUR services but freely give information that will help others. Keep sentences short, verbs vigorous and phrases fabulous. And keep it brief. Many pitches to media “gatekeepers” — meeting planners, journalists, TV producers or radio hosts — are done by e-mail. Contact the local media with a good story angle.
Not a speaker? Do it anyway. Over time you will perfect your talk and your confidence will grow. Afraid to talk before a group?
Dale Carnegie once said, “Do the thing you fear to do the most and the death of fear is certain!”
Once someone asks you to speak to their group do everything you can to help publicize it. Send e-mail, make calls, post your speaking engagement on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. Turn a little exposure into more press to help perpetuate a better reputation for you and your business.
With time, luck and the right tools, a small business owner can attract the attention of the local media and enjoy the benefits of good publicity.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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