To be clear, I mean public speaking not just talking out loud. Although I do excel at that regardless if I have an audience.

This week, actually today, I am talking to a group of professionals at OrgPro on measuring ROI on marketing efforts as well as personal branding. The latter is my most favorite topic in the world, see here and here and here.

For those of you that can’t possibly imagine getting up in front of a group of people…suck it up. If you are a business owner or have anything to do with business development, community engagement or marketing – you need to be front and center with your peers. Honestly, if you are trying to grow your network then you need to position yourself as a leader and you do that by being the one standing and talking…not sitting (just so we are clear).

Here are a few ways to get started.

  1. Event attendance. If you want to speak in front of a certain group of people, then you need to actually attend the orgs/associations events. Get to know the president, event chair and other board members. When chatting with them, let them know that you would love to see a speaker on such and such topic. Follow-up at a later day and volunteer to either speak or pull together a panel.
  2. Write. If you are not writing or blogging about what you do or what your specialty is, then why would anyone ask you to speak? You have to illustrate you are an expert or at least know what the hell you are talking about. Reach out to local publications, submit op-ed pieces, blog for another site – do something.
  3. Sit on a board. Getting involved in an association or peer group gives you the unique opportunity to assist with programming. You obviously don’t want to be self-promotional but you can volunteer when it is a fit.
  4. Reach out to your local Chamber. If you are a member of your local Chamber, then reach out to their events staff and let them know you are interested in presenting on a few different subjects. They may not have something right away, but they now know you are interested.
  5. Pull together your own peer group. A few years ago, I started a group along with two other women that discussed leadership. We were responsible for the topic each month, but we invited a variety of different people to participate. Why not do the same? If you love finance, then create a group that talks about numbers. Position yourself as a leader and the rest will follow.

The more organizations, associations and community happenings you are involved in the larger your network will become and opportunities will then present themselves. Remember, personal branding?

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