Public Speaking: Entrepreneurs – Top 5 Tips

December 11th, 2008 by Frank Damelio

It’s cheap and delivers results!  Many entrepreneurs don’t have budget for radio, TV and print advertising; so they invest in networking.  There are tons of great networking organizations that are affordable and effective.  Everything comes at a price, though, and in this case – networking consumes a great deal of time.

How do you ensure you get a good ROI?  Take every opportunity to present before networking and civic organizations such as Chamber of Commerce, BNI (Business Network International), Lyons Clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.

Public speaking alone, however, is not enough to ensure results.  Entrepreneurs need to have strong presentation skills.  Here’s why: When an entrepreneur speaks publicly, the audience assumes a relationship between the speaker’s ability to deliver a great product/service and his ability to deliver a presentation with confidence.  Many in the audience assume that if the presenter does not speak with confidence, he may not be competent in his core expertise. Conversely, if an entrepreneur speaks to the audience’s challenges and aspirations, and he does so with confidence and enthusiasm, many will assume that he delivers not just great presentations, but also great products/services.  While this is an unfair assumption, we all know the power of perception.  

Getting back to ROI, in many networking situations, you will spend hours of time to earn a few minutes to stand before a group.  We have already discussed some tips for maximizing those minutes.

Here are your Top Five Public Speaking for Entrepreneurs Tips

1) Build confidence by memorizing your opener and closer.

2) Power openers:

a) Pause for seven seconds.  They’ll pay attention.

b) Give them a starling fact.  You may then ask for a show of hands “how many believe that?”

c) Avoid rhetorical questions: “How many people here would like to save money?”

3) Relate what you do with a relevant story.  Show them how you helped someone like them to overcome a challenge or achieve her goals. For better or worse, most people are more moved by stories that stats.  

4) In your power closer, have a call-to-action.  “Show of hands: how many people here would benefit from 10 more tips on . . . ?  Great, those of you with your hands up, please take out your business card and pass it along to me.”

5) When other entrepreneurs are speaking, look at the audience.  How many people are really listening?  If the speaker is “average” it is probable that very few are really paying attention.  If the speaker is stellar, then many will be engaged.  When you see an audience engaged with the presenter, note what she is doing that others fail to do.  Every time you network you will be learning more secrets to being that stellar speaker and earning a great return on the hours you invest to speak for a few minutes.

There you have it.  Five simple tips for entrepreneurs to maximize public speaking opportunities.

For the networkers reading this entry, we’d love to hear your stories of great or abysmal entrepreneurial performances you’ve witnessed.

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4 Responses to “Public Speaking: Entrepreneurs – Top 5 Tips”

  1. David Portney Says:

    Very useful info in this article. May I add a bonus tip? – Never, ever, judge how you’re doing based on the looks on people’s faces while you’re speaking. Here’s just one example of many I could give: One time I had a guy in the front row who I was sure hated every word out of my mouth – he kept rolling his eyes, rubbing his temples and shaking his head. Afterward he came up and gave me a glowing review of my talk then said “I just wish I didn’t have this blasted hangover!”

    David Portney

  2. Frank Damelio Says:


    Astute point! When it comes to an individual, you really can’t be sure that the face tells the whole story. Your amusing anecdote hits that right on the head. I would, however be concerned if many in the audience were rolling their eyes and shaking their heads.

    I am also an expert magician, and in my earlier years I would be surprised sometimes that the person who least reacted to the magic could be the one who approached me at the show’s end to say “I’m not going to sleep tonight – that was amazing”.

    Thanks for your participation – much appreciated!

  3. Peter Bowler Says:

    It’s true that you can build confidence by memorizing your opening and closing comments. You can also boost your confidence by simply rehearsing and practising your presentation. When you fully understand the flow and logic of a presentation your confidence in its delivery will be so much higher.
    Public Speaking Training

  4. Frank Damelio Says:

    Thanks Peter for sharing your perspective. Assuming the speaker knows his content, it is really all about delivery at a higher level. When entrepreneurs implement these public speaking techniques they and their audiences will experience that higher level. We very much appreciate your comment.

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