Holding public seminars and workshops can be a great way to market your law firm and build your reputation as a specialist in your practice area. While you will usually reach a smaller audience with public speaking than with article writing, the people who do attend your seminars will be more likely to remember you. Face-to-face communication offers an emotional connection that usually isn’t conveyed in print, so prospects will feel more comfortable contacting you if they need your legal services. Here are ten steps to using public speaking in your law firm marketing campaign.
- Find an opportunity – Many organizations and business associations hold conferences, workshops and seminars for their members. Consider approaching the organization with a few potential speaking topics. Alternatively, you can network with influencers in the organization to potentially land a speaking gig.
- Attend a few meetings – Before you speak in front of an audience, attend a few meetings to learn more about how that organization structures its talks. Some prefer individual keynote speakers while others offer panel discussions. Familiarize yourself with the proceedings and people who attend meetings regularly to learn how to structure your talk as well as which topics would be most beneficial to listeners.
- Have a hook – Good speeches focus on solving a particular problem or avoiding pain. They aren’t a sales pitch for your services.
- Know your time limit – Most organizations have scheduled time slots, so know how long you have to speak, and organize your content accordingly. Don’t speak too long, especially if another speaker will follow up. If you have an hour to talk, create enough material for a forty minute speech and leave twenty minutes for questions.
- Prepare your talk – How you prepare your talk will depend on your personal style. Some people prefer to write out a script word-for-word to clarify their thoughts. Others use an outline to highlight the key points they will cover. If you will use slides or transparencies, make sure they highlight the main points of your talk and add to your presentation.
- Practice your talk – A good rule of thumb is to practice your entire talk aloud at least three times. If you’ve written out a script, put it aside during the practice sessions. Good talks are conversational in nature, so if you want to connect with your audience, you must be focused on reading their body language and connecting with them through eye contact, not reading your script or trying to remember what comes next during your talk.
- Arrive early – If you have the option to arrive at your event early, do so. This will allow you to talk with members of your audience in advance and uncover what they are most looking forward to learning during your talk.
- Close with information about your services – Because generating leads is the purpose for your talk, make sure you include some way for people to contact you if they have additional questions. If you have published a book or offer a free report, tell the audience how they can get a copy. If you can provide presentation notes or slides, ask people to give you their business cards if they would like you to email copies to them.
- Stay after the talk – Plan to stay after your talk in case audience members want to ask you specific questions. These casual discussions can build rapport and may translate into potential leads later.
- Follow up – Most of your leads will come from interested prospects who stay to chat with you after your talk. Additional leads can come from people who give you their business card in exchange for your presentation materials or free report. You should follow up with prospects as soon as possible, preferably in the day or two after your talk when it is still fresh in their minds.
Public speaking can be one of the best law firm marketing strategies to generate qualified leads because it demonstrates your expertise while building rapport with prospects in an informal setting. Though it can be time consuming to prepare a talk, it is usually well worth the effort.