Some of these ideas may not seem useful to you because you don’t have a desire to give a speech any time soon.  However, I would suggest that you cut these hints out and keep them for the time when you do decide to add public speaking to your marketing tools.  Every solo should be giving talks as well as attorneys in large firms. Attorneys in Public Practice can also get ahead sooner by becoming a public speaker.  This is one of the ways of branding yourself as a expert or someone very knowledgeable in an area of the law. So if you are not doing this, think about adding public speaking to your “tool kit”.

iStock_000014119164_ExtraSmall OK, now you are ready to prepare that topic and get ready to PERFORM.  Make sure, before you begin, that you know the size of the audience and what kind of set up will there be for your talk.  Don’t arrive with a power point and no place to show it.  Also you need to know how many hand outs to prepare.  Identify the person who will be helping you set up and who will be introducing you. You will need to prepare a short biography of yourself for the person introducing you to read.  Also attach a lengthier one with contact information to the back of your hand outs.  Always have hand outs even if you have a power point.  People need to take home information about the talk and you.

Be sure you know how long your talk should be.  You don’t want people walking out part way through because you didn’t know the timing of your presentation.

Now begins the work on the actual substance of your talk.  Let’s go back to the CPA example.  Say they picked the subject of “What every CPA needs to know about the new business law” from your list of possibilities.  You have researched and found several cases worth talking about.  So that will be the core of your talk.  But you also need a beginning and and bang up ending.

How then do you start your speech?  Some people like to start with a joke or a quote.  There are lots of jokes and quotes on the internet.  Be sure your joke is not demeaning to your audience.  Do not make fun of CPAs.  I think, in this case, it might be better to start with a hypothetical case where the CPA got in trouble for not knowing the current law.  This will certainly get their attention.

Then you need an ending.  Leave your audience with perhaps three things they can think about.  This would be related to your talk but put out in cautionary language.  Something like:  “Don’t be afraid to contact a business attorney if you think that there might be a law your don’t understand”.  Tell them upfront that you are giving them hints to live by and will make their life easier.

Always give value to to your audience and you can’t go wrong. Next week we can talk about how to handle questions and unruly people in the audience and other delightful tidbits to help make you a famous speaker.