The Public Speaking Payoff, Part 2: The Work is the second part of Ilene Bergelson's two-part article on successful public speaking events. If you haven't yet, check out Part 1 in the October issue of PFP!

Live interaction is stillthe biggest, most effective generator of word of mouth. Savvy fitness businessowners know this and capitalize on public speaking in their community andwithin the industry to elevate their presence and draw business. They know thatbeing seen and heard by your consumers connects you to them and makes themthink of you and your brand first. If you want to be a positive force andthrive in your community, get out there and speak up. You'll be doing a serviceto your community and your bottom line!

Takingthe Reins

You have speakingopportunities everyday. Which of these occurs in your business?

  • Location opening
  • Pitching to prospective clients
  • Partnering with other companies and cross-promoting at area events
  • Group classes and small group training
  • Prospective member tours or orientations

If you're not alreadytreating these as public speaking opportunities, you should be. They also serveas practice for honing your message for a bigger stage.


Getting started

Start by determining the event that will be most successful to you. Identify the service or product of focus and your target audience. Consider the events that fit best with your goals. See the list of events for ideas.

Select a speaker. Identify candidates who...
...can relate to the audience & build trusting relationship
...have natural charisma & ability to connect with others
...are easy to understand (volume, diction, delivery, conversational style, etc.)
...can be ready on time, prep on own and/or follow guidelines

Prepare the speaker so they know and are familiar with the topic and the audience's frame of reference, likes, needs and wants. Make sure they know their fellow team members, as well as their qualifications, businesses, brand and services, which will allow the speaker to better field questions and recommend people and services, etc. Not only will your audience have more confidence in your speaker's knowledge but they will have more of the information you want them to have.

Outline the marketing strategy. Identify your target audience and why they should care about your promotional offering. Where are they? Sources of access to consumers in target range might include area businesses and organizations, complimentary service providers, media outlets, etc. Provide incentives for your target audience, based on their needs. Include pre-event promotions such as offering complimentary shoulder massage to attendees, and at-event promotions, such as sign-up for sessions today and get an extra session free.


Fillingthe Room

Aim for your audience. Collaboratewith organizations whose consumer base is a fit for you and your services. Forexample, if you provide fitness coaching for weight loss, get in touch withnutritional organizations, weight loss support groups, doctors' offices, healthfood stores, colleges, parent or school organizations and any other groups youmay find people who will want your services.

Beprepared to cast a large net. You need to reach out tomore venues than your target because they may not all accept your offer. If youwould like to do a weekly 45-minute presentation to one organization, reach outto several groups to host. If you are lucky and everyone says yes, see if youcan partner two or more compatible organizations to co-host or waitlist groupsfor the following month.

Promotion,promotion, promotion! I cannot stress it enough. Effectivepromotion is essential. Long gone are the days where you simply post a flyerand you fill the room. Repeated outreaches must be made and you must enlistothers to spread the word--repeatedly. Give yourself and your host organizationenough time to get the word out a minimum of three to four times throughdifferent means. Upload a teaser clip to YouTube, send evites, post a sign,invite your database to a free teleseminar call that will give them a few tipsand the incentive to come to the big event. Most of all, talk it up and getyour people talking about it.

Successat the Event

Beprepared. When you are handed the microphone, figurativelyspeaking, you'd better have something to say, and you'd better say it well. The nature of public speaking isthat of total exposure. If you are cultivating exposure opportunities and youare not working on being able to deliveryour message skillfully and with style, then you are wasting your time. See thesidebar for a head start.

Putyour audience first. With all this talk about generating income,it's important to interject here that the priority must always be placed on quality if you want to uphold theintegrity of your brand (and yourself). If you are just in it to make money,your audience, or at least some of them, will come away feeling like they had a "hollow" experience. Our clients come to us with the express desire and need tohave confidence in our abilities and to feel understood and safe in our care.Whether our speaking skills lead us to more effectively reach our localcommunity or launch a product line, we've got to represent our brand withintegrity through the quality of our offering.

All companies can increasetheir sales right now by following the same model. Whether the event is led byin-house staff or a guest speaker, the cost is a small investment for a largerprofit. Follow-up events can be held by their own staff, raising the bottom lineyear after year. You would be surprised at how many miss this opportunity byskipping such an event. 

Dos and Don'ts for the Business Speaker


A fitness professional and performer on Broadway, film & TV, Ilene Bergelson has spoken to audiences of every size. With over 20 years of teaching experience, she lectures internationally and is the founder of LifeMoves Health, a comprehensive communication coaching & fitness education company. Her EmpowerSpeak workshops and Light Bytes Audio Programs have helped professionals around the world achieve their potential. For more info & upcoming events calendar, go to www.LifeMovesHealth.com/shop/index.html.