Ignite

September October 2019

A fresh resource for people who plan and manage meetings, events, business travel, promotions and incentive programs. Providing you with inspiration, guidance and great ideas.

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78 | Ignitemag.ca | September | October 2019 GREAT MINDS Public speaking is a tried-and-true way to accelerate your career and grow your business GROW YOUR BUSINESS Grab the Mic, Lauren Sergy is a professional speaker, author and expert in public speaking and communication skills. Based out of Edmonton, she helps professionals, senior leaders and organizations across North America become more powerful communicators. laurensergy.com B eing a professional speaker, I'm more than a little biased, but I'll stand by this statement: Public speaking is one of the best ways you can boost both your career and your business. Few activities give you the same opportunity to make a connection with the people you serve while simultaneously building up your reputation as a trusted expert in your fi eld. The keys to maximizing the ROI on your presentations are to focus on helping people solve a specifi c problem, treat the presentation like a multi-person conversation and seek out opportunities to put yourself in front of audiences you can help. Here's how: FOCUS ON SOLVING ONE SPECIFIC PROBLEM The best presentations revolve around a single useful take-away that the audience can quickly implement. There will never be enough time or attention span to go over everything you want, so be ultra specifi c. Instead of talking about disaster planning, talk about the three key steps to developing a good emergency plan. Instead of talking about using colour in your decor planning, focus on the impact of a monochrome versus complimentary colour scheme. TREAT THE PRESENTATION LIKE A BIG MULTI-PERSON CONVERSATION Really good presenters focus on creating a connection with their audience. You can ask your audience questions, invite them to share their ideas and so on. This is one of my favourite techniques to quickly get comfortable when giving a presentation. Keep it simple (i.e., ask for a show of hands) and don't be afraid to call on specifi c people ("I see you nodding! What's your favourite budget custom cocktail to offer at galas?"). PUT YOURSELF IN FRONT OF AUDIENCES There are loads of speaking opportunities out there. Associations such as MPI, ILEA and CanSPEP encourage peer-to-peer education; contact your local chapter and offer to give an educational talk at an upcoming meeting. Volunteer your services to Meetings Mean Business and give a short talk to your local council or chamber about the economic impact of the events industry. Share what you fi nd most fascinating about your work with the general public at events like PechaKucha, Nerd Nite or TEDx. Local TV stations may welcome you on their morning shows for a short segment. Dive in with both feet and grab that mic. Public speaking is an exhilarating experience—one that boosts your visibility, showcases your talents and makes a real difference to your career and business. by L a u r e n Ser g y

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