Speaking To Attract Clients

David Lecours Speaking to International Management Consultants USA

I have yet to find a bet­ter way to attract great clients than posi­tion­ing myself as an expert within the AEC Indus­try. The two best ways to demon­strate exper­tise are speak­ing and writ­ing. With speak­ing, you can make a deeper con­nec­tion because your audi­ence can see and hear your think­ing in real time. This is akin to the increased emo­tional impact of see­ing your favorite band in con­cert ver­sus sim­ply read­ing their lyrics.

Speak­ing is harder than writ­ing so fewer peo­ple travel this path. This is an oppor­tu­nity for you to stand out. I empathize that stand­ing alone on stage may freak you out. I still get ner­vous every time I speak. It’s a pri­mal fear hard wired into our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness. We relate stand­ing alone on a podium with hun­dreds of eyes look­ing at us to stand­ing alone on the savan­nah with saber tooth tigers eye­ing us for their next meal. To shield you from harm, I’ve out­lined how to get started, what to speak about and where to speak. Develop this skill of pub­lic speak­ing and you will attract clients that value your brilliance.

How To Get Started
Speak­ing is a learned skill. In the eight years I’ve been involved with Toast­mas­ters, I’ve con­sis­tently seen guests attend their first meet­ing and sheep­ishly stand up to say their name while star­ing at their toes. Within a few months, the very same peo­ple are deliv­er­ing 5–7 minute speeches to great applause.

Find and join a Toast­mas­ters club. I’m a mem­ber of two clubs. There is no bet­ter return on invest­ment for your career. You’ll improve your speak­ing, lis­ten­ing, self-esteem and lead­er­ship skills in a fun and sup­port­ive envi­ron­ment. I rec­om­mend vis­it­ing a few clubs in your area to “date before you marry.” Each club has it’s own cul­ture and traditions.

What To Speak About
As an excuse to avoid speak­ing, I fre­quently hear peo­ple say “I don’t have mate­r­ial that peo­ple want to hear” or “don’t I need to be a book author or PhD to be a speaker?” Non­sense. We all under­es­ti­mate how much exper­tise we already have. You can speak about a prob­lem that you recently solved for a client. If you want to get fancy, call this a case study. Speak about pat­terns or trends in your client’s indus­try. Then take a step fur­ther and offer some sug­ges­tions on how to respond to these trends. Give a “how-to” speech on some­thing you know clients are strug­gling with. You could also cre­ate a humor­ous speech about com­mon mis­takes that clients make when work­ing with a firm like yours.

Where To Speak
You are not going to be invited to speak at the TED Con­fer­ence right away. But there are many venues to prac­tice your craft. Speak­ing is like a mus­cle that you need to exer­cise reg­u­larly. Find as much stage time as you can. I’ve spo­ken at tal­ent shows, con­fer­ences, lun­cheons, break­fast meet­ings, wed­dings and funer­als. A great place to start is on a panel. Not all eyes are on you and you can dis­trib­ute the work­load among the other pan­elists. Good pan­els feel like a can­did con­ver­sa­tion (with the audi­ence lis­ten­ing in).

Speak­ing Works
Peo­ple don’t buy your ser­vices, they buy what you believe. Speak­ing works as a mar­ket­ing tool because it is an oppor­tu­nity for you to share what you believe in a non-sales envi­ron­ment. Peo­ple don’t like to be sold to. So use speak­ing as a tool to build trust with your audi­ence, and then enjoy poten­tial clients hand­ing you their busi­ness card.

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2 Responses to “Speaking To Attract Clients”

  1. Dave Carey July 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Nicely done!!

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