By Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital
One of the most important skills for the budding entrepreneurs of any age is public speaking. From conferences to investor presentations, successful entrepreneurs must also learn to become effective public speakers. Utilizing public speaking skills is not limited to just large events, however. They make you a more effective communicator in conducting everyday business, like leading a meeting, hiring new employees and, most importantly, networking. As you can imagine, the better you are at speaking clearly and persuasively, the greater your potential for business success.
While you might feel confident giving presentations in front of large groups of people, some of the most intimidating interactions are often those that are one-on-one or with small groups. These conversations are some of the best ways to build personal rapport and spark business opportunity.
Here are our top three tips for improving your speaking skills when networking:
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
Networking is just like playing an instrument: the more you practice, the better you become. Sure, when you first begin to network, you might stumble over your words a bit and feel slightly uncomfortable, but over time, networking skills will come much more naturally. Don’t let an initial fumble prevent you from pursuing future networking opportunities; continuing to attend more networking events will only help you hone your abilities. Remember, practice makes perfect!
2. Create a Personalized Pitch
You may have heard of the term “elevator speech,” which is a compact and compelling introduction which communicates your business’s unique selling point. Create a personalized elevator speech for networking where you pitch yourself. Take the time to craft and rehearse your speech, that way, you’re able to recite it comfortably and confidently at your next networking event. It is important that you hone this personal pitch over time to ensure it comes across as natural as possible. In fact, investors often state that when they choose to invest in a business, it is often because of their belief in the team and not just the business concept itself!
3. Be Personable
In any networking scenario, be sure to show off your personality. You will establish better credibility if your personality shines through and your listener will trust what you have to say if they can see you as a real person. Being able to speak conversationally and with a personal touch can foster better connections and will benefit you in the long run.
As an entrepreneur, you’re out there selling, leading, managing, and inspiring people nearly every day. Public speaking and networking skills come with the job of being an entrepreneur, so be sure to make an effort to brush up on these skills. If you’re needing an extra boost or a helping hand, there are a number of organizations which can help. Many entrepreneurs practice their skills through organizations like Toastmasters. You can also work with personal coaches, community groups, or you might even consider creating your own practice group.
Just remember, the sooner you start practicing your networking skills, the sooner you can apply your abilities towards business growth.
So why not get started now?
Interested in tools that can help you create the perfect pitch? Check out the Ye! Community Tools section here.
Photo Credit: Air Force Medical Service