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Stand Up and Be Counted


Over the years that we have owned a business we have done a LOT of networking. In fact in the early days of our business it was so important we had a spreadsheet of possible meetings that we could attend. We have attended them all, from the informal ones to the very structured ones such as BNI.

One thing many networking groups offer is the chance to do a presentation. BNI actively encourage members to give 10 minute presentations about their business, others have a regular slot for members to share something of interest to other members. I’m always amazed at how few people take up this opportunity.

It is hard and somehow not British to stand up and talk about your own business. However there are many ways to do this without it sounding like a 10 minute boast about how great you are and how wonderful your business is. In fact I’ve come across very few people who take this approach - thankfully.

Obviously if you are asked, or volunteer to talk to a room full of other business owners you have an advantage if you sell to businesses. I’ve heard accountants share tax advice, lawyers talk about an aspect of company law, graphic designers about design and get the picture. However business owners are consumers too, so talking about what you sell or how you came to be selling the product have often been the most interesting presentations I’ve heard.

As marketers it has been easy for us to give presentations with helpful tips for other businesses. As early adopters of social media I found myself giving lots of advice about how to use the various platforms. I’m not a natural presenter but because I was talking about a subject I felt comfortable with it was easier somehow.

But I was and still am nervous. I deal with the nerves by making sure I know what I want to say. I write a full presentation that I run through several times and have it to hand while I speak.  However while I talk I use notes to prompt me. It helps that I love speaking about social media and that I know a lot about it. Often no matter how well prepared you are someone will ask a question to which you aren’t sure of the answer. Don’t be afraid to admit this. After the talk find out the answer and send it to the person who asked. If it is can be applied to everyone add it to the notes that you circulate after the talk.

The trap with networking can be that you forget that it is part of your marketing strategy. The more formal groups such as BNI and the Athena Network are more expensive than the many informal groups. Therefore it is important to get maximum value from them. One way of doing that is to ensure that you take every opportunity to get the most benefit. Giving a presentation is an excellent way of doing so.

As part of our marketing consultations we discuss networking including how to get the most from them. We are currently booking marketing courses so do contact us for more details.


Liz Balmford
March 30,2017 01:16 pm
Lots of people are scared to deliver presentations. You're spot on about it being easier when it's a topic you a) are passionate about and b) have lots of experience in. Actually that's what an audience wants: a speaker who's passionate and knowledgeable. They don't care about perfection. I agree we should all grasp these opportunities more often.

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