Professional Jeweler Archive: Public Speaking is a Form of Advertising, Don't Be a Wallflower

May 2000

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Public Speaking is a Form of Advertising, Don't Be a Wallflower

Promote yourself as an expert on jewelry or watches


Public speaking is a powerful tool to establish credentials, so it can be galling when a competitor is repeatedly asked to the podium while you play wallflower.

Know this: It’s nothing personal. Your competitor likely asked to be asked and you didn’t.

Look at it from the perspective of a meeting organizer. He or she has several, perhaps dozens, of events to organize. Each will be attended by hundreds, if not thousands, of people. The dates are set and approaching. You don’t think the organizer would welcome a call from you that could solve his problem of who to ask to speak?

You don’t have to hire an expensive public relations agency to make it happen. A little research, plus persistence, will produce results. Here’s what Gwen Moran, president of Moran Marketing Associates in Ocean, NJ, describes as the basic steps to becoming a regular public speaker.

Start small. Polish your skills at small engagements. The slight attendance means relatively low risk. It’s better than embarrassing yourself on a major platform because you aimed too high too soon. Check your local newspaper for groups that may need speakers for monthly meetings.

Do your homework. If there’s a particular group of people you’d like to aim for, identify the forums that reach them. For jewelers, these would include bridal shows and fashion shows. If you’re located in a shopping mall, check with management to see what events of this sort are scheduled for the facility.

Plan ahead. Many events happen just once a year and have long lead times. Once you’ve identified an event at which you’d like to speak, contact the organizer to see how far ahead the event is planned. Such events are often themed, so ask whether the organizer has any preferences on the content of your presentation. If you can speak authoritatively and fit the format of the event, it will be hard for the organizer to say no.

Find help. If you belong to a professional organization, ask whether it promotes members as speakers. Then if the group gets a call for a speaker from your city and you’re listed by its “speakers bureau,” you may get the nod.

Some events even pay an honorarium, ranging from a few dollars to several thousand. This might become a profitable sideline as you become more successful and well-known.

– by Mark E. Dixon

Help women’s groups make the connection between jewelry trends and what the stars wear by presenting a slide show of recent awards events. Here, actress Claire Danes is shown at the VH-1/Vogue awards, wearing a diamond bracelet by Roberto Coin.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications