It can be nerve-wracking to think about speaking in front of an audience, especially when said audience is full of peers you respect, but don’t let this deter you from trying public speaking. Even a small speaking engagement can do wonders for your confidence and professional portfolio, not to mention boosting your small business. If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you should pursue such an opportunity at your next conference, here are five reasons you might change your mind.
1. Establish Yourself as an Expert
It can be difficult to make waves in your niche if no one knows who you are. It can also be difficult to persuade clients or customers to work with you if you don’t have a proven track record. Having accolades like giving presentations, talks, or even courses at a relevant conference can give your name more weight. Record these talks if you can and upload them to your website or social media profiles to highlight your successes. Plus, some people who don’t enjoy reading articles or posts may be more likely to click on a video.
2. Network With Industry Superstars
One of the best ways to keep up with new business trends is to surround yourself with industry powerhouses. It can be difficult to contact these individuals, let alone get into the same room as them, which makes industry events crucial to building these connections. As a fellow speaker, you’ll likely have more access to private areas where these people wait to take the stage. You can relax, talk over a coffee, and make introductions without the chaos of larger crowds. If you spot a person you’d like to collaborate with in the future, introduce yourself, but don’t immediately jump into whatever it is you want from them. The true spirit of networking lies in what you can offer your community. Focus on giving, and you’ll see returns naturally.
3. Attend More Events
Going to conferences, conventions, and trainings can get expensive quickly, especially for small business owners. However, speakers are often paid to speak while being granted access to those events for free. If the expenses are holding you back, being brave and putting together a talk could be the secret to traveling more. Plus, once you’ve spoken at one event, you’ve created a track record you can leverage to book more events. You might even be able to network with individuals who run other conferences and are looking to fill their schedules.
4. Get Inspired
Some entrepreneurs treat conferences like one big brainstorming session, and it’s easy to see why. You’re surrounded by experts who have seen and tried it all. You can talk about current trends, think of new marketing strategies, and approach problems from different angles. A tactic one company is using in one area of their company may inspire a solution in a completely different part of your own business. You may also learn new facets of customer needs and desires that you weren’t leveraging before.
5. Expand Your Knowledge
Too many people make the mistake of turning down opportunities simply because they don’t feel well prepared. In reality, no one is perfectly prepared all of the time. You never know if you’ll succeed unless you take a chance, so sometimes you simply have to ask if you can give a presentation. If you’re offered a time slot and a subject you’re not well-versed in, consider how much time you have to learn. Entrepreneurs are ambitious by nature, so chances are you’ve taught yourself countless skills already. Why can’t you learn another with enough confidence to speak to others about it? Challenging yourself is a great way to build your skills while extending that education to others. Getting up in front of an audience can be daunting, but it can also open countless doors for your business. When you believe in your abilities and are excited to educate and inspire others, you never know what new opportunities will come your way.