Association professionals are often called upon to speak at events. While it can be intimidating, public speaking is a highly valuable skill to possess, and those who learn to leverage it effectively will often establish themselves as experts or thought leaders, which in turn helps to grow membership and raise the profile of their organisation.
Delivering engaging speeches or presentations gives the speaker an aura of confidence that quickly translates into a credible reputation for deep knowledge and valuable expertise. This perceived competence has the potential to generate high quality membership leads and media coverage, as prospective members opt to put their trust in a ‘known’ and respected entity.
Used carefully, speaking engagements are also an efficient marketing tactic. Invitations to speak should be evaluated on the opportunities they offer to communicate with key target audiences, then prioritised and allocated to the right person, or even declined if they appear not to offer value. Your marketing team will proactively seek out the best opportunities available to you in your sector and region.
Every speaking opportunity varies in terms of its scope, prestige and the quality and size of audience. It’s important to assess all these factors before committing, and then prepare and practise to perfection. Analyse which key individuals will be present – both among existing members, prospects and media, and arrange to meet them either before or the speech, wherever possible.
The benefits of conquering public speaking are numerous, and include raising the profile of key members of staff, generating new membership leads and commercial opportunities, networking and becoming known as a thought leader via important sector publications. It also allows the speaker to gain practice in constructing persuasive arguments, reading the reactions of listeners and communicating ideas with precision and clarity, all of which can be highly valuable when interacting with members, employees and other stakeholders.
Many regional business magazines and business sections of regional papers actively seek respected, expert speakers to give presentations at events including conferences, forums, workshops and seminars. While some may be paid for opportunities, your marketing team will recommend the best value engagements, while negotiating competitive deals with the organisers.
We really can’t recommend public speaking enough. The CJAM team works closely with membership organisations to ensure that all speaking opportunities are maximised, with member events a prime example. Giving engaging speeches at events pays dividends in terms of increasingly the loyalty of existing members, while creating that all important spark with new members.