Whether you’re headed to a Rotary Club breakfast or a Chamber of Commerce Lunch ‘n Learn, speaking to service clubs and local business groups can be a great way to practise your skills and expand your network. Here are a few tips for making the most of a service-club gig:
- Get invited by approaching the club directly or by speaking with a member of the club who’s already in your circle.
- When you’re invited to speak, confirm the location, the time (a.m. or p.m. – many clubs gather early in the morning!) and the topic of your talk. Ask how much time you have.
- If you’ve never been to the venue before, and you can spare the time, visit beforehand. If you’re going to use PowerPoint (and please ask yourself if this is necessary), be sure there is gear in place to hook up your laptop. If you need a flip chart or other prop, ask if it’s available.
- Inquire about the needs and point of view of the audience. A gathering of retirees will have different expectations than a group of young job-seekers.
- Write up your own introduction and provide it in advance to the person who will introduce you.
- Relax. Don’t read a speech to the group. Engage them. Interact. And have fun.
- Be sure to stick to the time allotted! In fact, I guarantee that no one will complain if you finish early.
- Distribute a one-page handout at the end of your talk, outlining key information. Be sure your contact info and links are on the page.
- Ask for feedback after your talk. Gather testimonials to use in your marketing materials.
What would you add to this list?