Power of the Public Speaker

by Clem Boyd | Feb 16, 2024 | Public Relations

At its heart, public relations is sharing your brand’s story through earned and organic communication channels, whether that is an op-ed, a radio or TV interview, or social media.

But there is a very old-fashioned PR strategy, perhaps even forgotten by some, that may be the Holy Grail of public relations. Imagine this: a platform where you have the rapt and singular attention of stakeholders as your head honcho waxes expertly about what you do and how you do it.

Yes, I am talking about the public speaking engagement. If this is not already a staple of your public relations endeavors, it may be time to turn on the microphone.

I first learned the power of public speaking in high school. I was just another member of the junior class, but after one winsome and memorable 10-minute speech, I was on my way to a ballot victory for class officer.

Public speaking as a dynamic form of influence was further confirmed during Dr. Hugh Culbertson’s Advanced Public Relations class at Ohio University.

This course served as the capstone for the PR track in the journalism degree program. My teammates and I conducted PR research on the Athens Food Co-op. After interviewing more than 100 people, we arrived at a startling conclusion: once a person had met someone from the co-op, it greatly increased their chances of visiting the store.

Our topline recommendation? Schedule presentations at residence halls featuring co-op food items.

One of the best ways to do public relations is to visit with the public and relate. And while I am a big believer in this strategy, here are a few questions to consider before you start filling your CEO’s calendar with a speaking tour:

How does your leader feel about public engagements? Not all leaders are equally excited about standing in front of a microphone. Persuade them to try. Offer to coach them through stage fright, share speechmaking tips, and cheer them on. It might be that your CEO is not the best person for this role, so look for others. Maybe it is your COO, your CFO, or someone else in the C-suite.

What are your leader’s areas of expertise? Exploit those for speaking opportunities. Look for ways to get your spokesperson in places where he or she is the authority on a topic. When they speak, make sure to bring collateral that points people to your website. Offer a QR code at the beginning or end (or both) of the presentation where the audience can receive further insights on the subject matter.

Where do you hope to speak? This will take sitting down with your spokesperson at the end of one calendar year to plot out speaking opportunities in the coming year. Before scheduling those engagements, be clear about the stakeholders you want to reach and aim for those opportunities first. Identify trade conferences, shows, or exhibitions that fit.

Also, consider webinars. Webinars and virtual conferences are more prevalent today than ever. But wait a minute, how about mixing with the public in person? Granted, virtual does not create the same vibe as in-person, but it can provide a way for busy CEOs and presidents to connect with audiences they hope to influence without adding travel to a busy schedule.

Can you create speaking opportunities? If your organization is planning a new initiative or rolling out a new product or service, hosting a grand opening or program reveal are very viable ways to have your spokesman share the vision and accelerate interest.

What kind of PR campaign can you generate around the speaking engagement? When you and your leadership commit to a public speaking schedule, you will also create natural opportunities for PR campaigns. You can send a press release prior to the event, invite reporters for a presser prior to or after the event, and send out releases afterward.

Public speaking engagements are a great way to advance your brand, establish your expertise, and build warm relationships with your audience and the media. Make public speaking a part of your public relations strategy this year and beyond.

Infinity Concepts can help you become a leading voice among the audiences that you value.

CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.

Clem Boyd
Latest posts by Clem Boyd (see all)

Stay Informed!

Join thousands of subscribers who love our content! Subscribe for the latest insights.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.