7 things I learned in public speaking

Tips for entrepreneurs: I love sharing what I learn. It blesses me and it blesses you. How? Read and learn.

Deal makers conference 390 (photo credit: Screenshot: Media Line)
Deal makers conference 390
(photo credit: Screenshot: Media Line)
I love sharing what I learn. It blesses me and it blesses you. How? Read and learn.
Lesson No. 1: Every time you give a presentation, you impart, deliver or discover knowledge.
Even if you don’t think what you’re talking about is earth-shattering, in almost every audience you talk to, what you are saying is news to someone.
Lesson No. 2: Never assume it’s your audience who learns the most from your talk.
It’s not just the audience who benefits from a talk. The speaker gains enormous insights from the experience of speaking.
When I spoke at Google, I was terrified. Although I’d spoken at many places before, this was Google! When I was told that a second location was going to be attending via satellite, I started off the presentation rattled and a bit flustered.
I stayed flustered until the first question from an attendee.
Then everything changed. I learned this first lesson that Google was just a company where other people worked, people I could share my knowledge with. They weren’t there to judge me, but to learn from me.
This was no longer about me “speaking for Google.” I was now speaking for smart, savvy computer wizards who were finding value in what I was saying. I was a human being interacting with human beings. From then on I relaxed and delivered a fantastic presentation to resounding applause. I think I learned more that day than they did! Which leads me to my next lesson: How did I get to Google?
Lesson No. 3: You never know what experiences you have will lead to, or who knows who.
I spoke in the past for the the Israeli Translation Association (ITA), the professional body for translation. Someone who heard me there told someone in Google about me, and several months later I received a speaking invitation from Google. It had never occurred to me that speaking for a specific industry, without further networking, could still lead to media mentions and articles. (Lots of translators also write for different publications!) Aaah – but how did I get to the ITA?
Lesson No. 4: It’s a small world.
I got to ITA through HARO (short for HelpAReporter.com).
HelpAReporter.com is a website founded a few years ago by my friend Peter Shankman.
Every day HARO sends out three emails with requests from dozens of different reporters looking for story sources. For example, a travel reporter might request, “Looking for doctors that work/live on cruise ships in the horn of Africa.” If you were qualified to respond to that query, or knew someone who did, you could respond and, if there is a match, might be interviewed for their story. I’ve successfully gotten more than 100 placements via HARO in places like The Wall Street Journal, CBS, Fox and many others.
Lesson No. 5: Be grateful in all things. What seems to be a bad turn is often a bigger and better blessing in disguise!
One morning I saw a HARO request for speakers at an event in Israel! I realized that I knew the poster personally. So I emailed her. I did NOT get the gig because by the time we spoke the speaker roster was full. But it DID lead to a speaking engagement at a different event for the organization – where the Google contact heard me. You know how that story turned out! Just last week I spoke for an audience of several hundred people at the Revenue Seminar in Tel Aviv. The invitation to speak there came via someone I met three years ago via a nowdefunct industry event!
Lesson No 6: Use every opportunity to discover other opportunities.
Don’t be satisfied just to speak. Use your talks to reach out to your audience to create new opportunities. Speaking last Thursday at Nefesh B’Nefesh has already led to new business, both lecturing at other nonprofits and doing consulting with a honcho at Oracle Corporation who was also in attendance.
His testimonial alone will be a tremendous addition to my testimonial page, which made the whole speech worthwhile!
Finally: Lesson No. 7: Develop relationships with other speakers.
When speaking at events with other speakers, make sure to connect with them as well as the audience. At last year’s event I met with Google AdWords master Perry Marshall and spent a few hours with him. To my delight and surprise, his next private-client newsletter had several pages about me, and he’s since become a good friend.
Receiving an enthusiastic response from an audience is gratifying.
Spending time personally with world famous personalities in Internet marketing – such as Armand Morin, Harlan Kilstein and Adam Hall, who came to Israel for an event I spoke at last week – was valuable in its own right. But the fact that I have a new notch in my belt and have climbed a new mountain? Priceless.
Get out there. You can do it, too!
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Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business publications.