A majority of professionals would rather die than speak in front of others.
At the same time, public speaking is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build your business and win new customers.
I recently sat down with David Newman, a bestselling author, speaker and consultant, to get his advice on how professionals can build their personal brand and win new business with public speaking - especially if you're not wired with a huge, boisterous personality and extroverted nature.
Loud Doesn't Always Equal Engaging
"There are so many different ways to engage an audience," Newman says. "You don't have to be any certain way. There are thought leaders and experts and entrepreneurs and business owners that are very engaging but very quiet.
"They're very engaging, but they draw people to them instead of broadcasting or having a big voice and a big personality. So you don't need to be a circus act, you don't need to be an exaggeration, you don't need to be taking on these personality traits that are not comfortable to you."
How To Engage an Audience
Newman says the most engaging speakers are the ones that are true to their personality, their preferences and their audience.
"So if you prefer to have a quiet, intellectual conversation that's interesting and intriguing, maybe a little bit controversial, a little bit contrarian, but quiet and calm, you can still draw people in," he says. "You don't have to use a bullhorn, or have a big voice or big bravado."
The key, Newman notes, is making sure what you have to say is compelling, engaging and (most important) tailored to the audience in front of you.
"You can spotlight ideas, you can spotlight others, you can even hold up a mirror to the kinds of clients and audiences you're in front of," he says. "To be able to say, 'There are some things that are working in your business, in your career, in your life with your money ... whatever the topic might be ... there are some things that are working and there are some things that are not working. And I'm just here to ask you some questions. I'm just here to help you with some introspection."
Similar to the approach I teach in terms of generating new business from LinkedIn, Newman says its all about understanding your audience's biggest pain points, problems and pressures ... and then offering actionable solutions and strategies that they can start implementing immediately.
Busting the Public Speaking Myth
Most of all, Newman is passionate about dispelling the idea one has to be a rock star on stage to build a brand or grow a business via public speaking.
"You don't have to be some mega personality to leverage speaking to drive leads and clients and revenue into your business," he says. "Also, a lot of people have natural talent to communicate well. They're just shy about it, or don't think they're good enough compared to someone else.
"My friends, don't compare yourself to anyone else. You are always going be the very best messenger of your message," he says. "So whatever that means for you, whatever personality, whatever conveyance you have - quiet, analytical, dynamic, humorous, not humorous - it doesn't matter as long as you're authentic and enthusiastic about your message. That is what's going to come across to people every single time."
(Note: You can hear a longer Podcast interview I did with David Newman on using speaking to grow your business here.)