When you think of marketing, public speaking probably isn’t your next thought. Marketing can vary from elaborate email campaigns to detailed analytics to even reputation management. Whether you live on the analytical or creative side of the marketing spectrum, public speaking can hugely boost the impact of your efforts. How? Every single type of marketing involves telling the story of your business, whether that’s through numbers, bar graphs, or words— which is why marketers need to be strong public speakers. Here’s how public speaking skills can play an important role in your own department.
Making your pitch
Every marketing campaign needs to be vetted and approved before going into action. Marketing campaigns require funds, and to acquire those funds you’ll need to convince others to leverage the long-term gains against the short-term cost.
Both analytics and creatives need to be able to come together to craft a story about the campaign they want to begin. They’ll need each other to tell a compelling narrative about the potential of the campaign to the marketing lead.
If you want to sell someone on an idea, you need to be confident and inspired. If you have neither, it will be hard for anyone to root for you, much less to hop onto your next idea. If you can’t get excited about your own idea, how can anyone else? This is why marketers need to be strong public speakers, especially within their own departments.
Strong public speakers are passionate about their topic. They skillfully create a bridge of interest from their own excitement to engage the audience. By the end of a compelling speech, the audience is interested in the topic too. Weak public speakers might be able to convey their own excitement about a particular idea, but not why the audience should share that feeling. Think back to your worst teacher in high school or college— were they a captivating speaker, pulling in your attention to their subject? Odds are, that’s a no.
Anticipating your audience
So, you know you need to connect with your audience. But what’s the best way to do that? All marketers know what a buyer persona is— a fictional character comprised of an aggregate of real customer profiles, like Startup Susie or Retail Rick. But have you considered making a persona for the audience of your pitch?
Everyone has their own language of persuasion. Some people respond best to hard data, others respond better to inspiring anecdotes. Yet others might prefer to only ingest “need to know” information. Whatever the case, each language requires the speaker to adjust, or risk losing the audience.
Creating “Data Debbie” and “Emotional Eddie” or even “Facts Fred” can distil the possibilities of what will be most persuasive in any pitch situation, and then can be pulled out for each pitch to match the persuasion language of audience members in the meeting.
Creating long-term thinkers
This is a constant challenge for any marketing team— demonstrating long-term payoffs from lengthy and strategic campaigns. To connect with those outside your department, you’ll need to be able to communicate the goals and how those can be reached. This is yet another reason why marketers need to be strong public speakers.
Essentially, you must sell your own company on the value of marketing. And to do this, you’ll need to harness the power of storytelling. Weaving a powerful narrative of the effects of strong marketing strategies through clear and captivating speech is essential to keeping a seat at the table as a marketer.
One way to inspire long-term thinking about the purpose of marketing is to tell a story about a specific campaign from start to finish.
If your marketing department is new, bring in a case study that closely relates to your industry. Even walk them through a competitor’s campaign from the outside, showing gaps in their story and how you could make a campaign that neatly fills those gaps.
Strong public speakers keep the audience’s attention through both speech quality and content of the speech. They simply go together. While the content of your speech is important, a poor delivery means no one will be listening. Once you’ve gotten a handle on the optimal content you want to provide, then education and practice come in. Both can greatly assist your speech quality and technique—but like anything else in marketing, it’s a long-term process that doesn’t happen overnight. The earlier you can start practicing and improving your technique, the more persuasive you’ll be.
Why marketers need to be strong public speakers is clear: telling a story is crucial to both public speaking and marketing. And by implementing these strategies coupled with a plan to practice your skills, you’ll be a stronger marketer for it.
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