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Speaking at Service Clubs

Boost your business by presenting informative and entertaining speeches at local clubs.

By Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Speaking at Service Clubs

Boost your business by presenting informative and entertaining speeches at local clubs.

By Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

Are you looking for an inexpensive way to promote your business? Have you ever wondered what higher visibility in your community could do to increase business? Have you ever listened to a speaker at a service club and thought you could do a better job? Here's how you can make it happen.

Brenda was a successful men’s hairstylist in San Francisco’s financial district. At the encouragement of her mentor, she attended the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking course and became a toastmaster. The hair product company she was affiliated with hired her to deliver seminars for other stylists.

Conversations with her executive clients about her weekend speaking activities led to invitations to speak at their local clubs. They knew her bubbly personality and prior experiences with other groups would lead to an interesting program. When she exceeded their expectations, the executives recommended her customer service presentations to their companies for staff meetings. What Brenda was delighted to discover was that speaking for groups in her community was a very effective way to help build her business.

Why should you give free talks?
Service clubs do not pay a fee. However, you are paid in a currency that is far more valuable: visibility and access to new contacts.

Al was one of Brenda’s loyal hairstyling clients and recommended her to speak at the Golden Gate Breakfast Club. At the time, all the members were men and good prospects for her salon. Brenda was excited to discover that the same day she addressed them, three members of the audience made lunchtime appointments in her salon.

An effective speech will bring you recognition and business leads. Even if you talk about your hobbies, interests or charity of choice, your introduction will mention your business. You will be networking and meeting new local business professionals.

What should you talk about?
What do you know that other people want to know or should know? What questions do people ask you most often about your business, industry, or your hobbies and interests?

Speaking at a service club or any local group is an excellent starting point for promoting your product or service, but remember that no one is eager to listen to a sales presentation. Your goal is to be interesting, informative and entertaining.

How do you get invited to speak?
First, develop your speech. Then, tell your friends, clients, associates and acquaintances that you would love the opportunity to speak at local programs. Search online for service clubs in your area, and contact the program chairperson.

How do you maximize the experience?
Be easy to work with.
Write your own short introduction, including the importance of the subject and why you are the perfect person to deliver that message. Make your bio available to them well in advance for their newsletter. Also send a good photo and a link to your website.

Go early to the event, and make sure you meet as many people as possible. Find the visitors from other organizations and mention, "If you enjoy my presentation, please give my card to your program chair."

Have a handout or flier. Develop a handout detailing your key points and information on your topic. Offer a catalogue or brochure, if appropriate. If you’ve had an article published, make copies for the audience members. Make sure whatever you offer includes your contact information.

Collect business cards. If your goal is to develop business contacts, always collect business cards from the audience members. You can hold a drawing for small prizes, such as a gift certificate for your business.

Drive traffic to your website or blog. If your audience is interested in the subject, where can they get more information?

Let them know you are available to speak for other groups. Just as you did in conversation, before you close your speech mention, "If you belong to any other organizations that would be interested in hearing a speech on this subject, feel free to pass along my card and website."

Speaking before a group of strangers may be slightly intimidating at first. Just remember that this is the beginning of many long-term relationships. Step up on the podium, and profit from the experience.

Patricia Fripp CSP, CPAE, is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills trainer, and keynote speaker on sales, memorable presentation skills, and executive communication skills. She works with organizations and individuals who want to put their best foot forward by gaining powerful, persuasive, presentation skills. She builds leaders, transforms sales teams and delights audiences. She is past-president of the National Speakers Association. To learn more, contact her at, 415-753-6556, twitter@PFripp, or

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