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Who Are you Speaking to? by Celia Delaney, SpeakingSuccess

This is part of a series of articles entitled, ‘The 5 P’s of Speaking to Promote your Business’ in which I talk about all the things I think you need to have in place in order to speak effectively when you run or represent a business.

The third ‘P’ is People. I’m going to assume you are planning on speaking to humans but let’s narrow that down a bit. Who exactly are you speaking to? What are the different ways you need to analyse those people that are useful in speaking? What difference does it make?

Anyone in business will know – if they’ve lasted more than five years that is – that it doesn’t make good commercial sense to market your product or service to anyone and everyone. It simply takes too long and costs too much and leaves everyone in your company exhausted.

The alternative then, is to identify a market for your product or service and go after that market in a more targeted way. It is typical in marketing to draw as detailed a picture as you can of your avatar, that is, someone who represents your ideal customer. It’s a good idea to start with some easy demographics to describe them, e.g.. Who are they? What do they do for a living? How much do they earn? Where do they live?

Marketers would now be dying to get to the next level of description: What car do they drive? What newspaper do they read? Do they have kids? Where do they go on holiday? and so on.

As a speaker, you don’t necessarily need to go into that much detail because audiences tend to be drawn from a wider demographic, so an easier way to group them is by industry sector.  This is why I speak to franchises. They are readily identifiable as a market: they like to hang out together, their businesses have similar price points, and they have similar needs that I can address.

So now I’ve identified a sector, or section of the population I want to speak to, I ask myself these crucial questions, which will entirely dictate how I write my talks:

What keeps them awake at night? and What do they desire?

What are the biggest challenges to them in their sector?

What are the biggest challenges out there in the wider world that might affect them?

What vocabulary do they tend to use? E.g. a franchisor will say ‘network’ meaning their franchisees. For me in the wider world, ‘network’ just means everyone I know J

What level of language will they understand and respond to?

Is English their first language? E.g. I also speak in technology as a sector and it often is not.

Do they like facts or stories or both?

Are they attached to having proof from experts or will they take my word for it?

Are they strong on social media? Will I need to write this talk so it is Twitter-friendly?

What credibility will I need to have for them to trust me?

What questions are they likely to have?

What is their typical budget or price point?

If you can answer all of those questions about the People you want to speak to, then you can write a talk that will feel like you wrote it just for them, which of course, you did.

Celia Delaney is a supplier member of the bfa and will be speaking on The 5 P’s of Speaking to Promote your Business at Kensington Olympia at the Growing Your Own Business Conference (part of the British & International Franchise Exhibition) on Friday 9th March at 12-12.30pm.

You can book your free ticket for this event here

If you want to read about the other P’s of Speaking to Promote your Business, they will soon be published on Celia’s backstage blog 

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