The Best Way to Create More Opportunity in Your Career

Public speaking is something so scary that they have a term for it. Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking. Last week I wrote about Simple Steps to Building Your Self Image. In my opinion, building your self image is the best way to improve your public speaking. I mention a correlation to public speaking ability and an increase in your bank account. There is a comment about there being no correlation. Phil’s comment was spot on. Our discrepancy lies in the definition of public speaking and quantifying the increase in opportunity.

Public Speaking is 1: the act or process of making speeches in public 2:  the art of effective oral communication with an audience (2 or more). A mistake often made is that public speaking is a stage, an audience, and a spotlight on you. Public speaking can be a one on two conversation. It can be in a conference room. In my opinion, public speaking is the act of effectively communicating your message with a specific outcome in mind.

How Can Public Speaking Turn in to Opportunity?

Chris has a great story in his book Remarkable You. He talks about being a VP of Ad Sales and wanting to be a director. The problem – no one knew how good he was except for him and his boss. Many executives face this problem. No one knows how good you are. To grow, it is your responsibility to communicate that message. This is true from your entry level position to the C Suite.

Chris was a VP of Ad Sales at Zanox. Based in Berlin, Chris sat in the company’s midtown office. News updates were an opportunity for Chris. Rather then send an email, Chris sent video updates. By using video Chris separated himself. Executives could see his passion, knowledge, and presentation skills. These skills don’t translate through email.

That video is from 2007. It lives on YouTube. A few short years later an EMT was fired for comments made on Facebook. At that time Chris’ career had shifted from ad sales to social media. Producers at Fox needed an expert. They found a blog post by Chris. Chris’ writing was not enough to get him on TV. When producers googled him they found video. They saw Chris, articulate, put together, can pull off pink. Whatever it is that the producers needed to see, they saw. Chris was on Fox later that day. Five years later he is a go to for TV execs on newsworthy items.

How Can I Turn Public Speaking in to Opportunity?

Looking for a Job – Video is a great way to set yourself apart from competition. You can create a private Youtube channel and use video to support your resume when applying. You can create a public Youtube channel and do video blogs. Those two things alone will help you stand out. Treat an interview as you would a presentation. Prepare for it. Research the company, have your questions set and rehearsed. A tip from Chris that he learned from being on the news. Go in to an interview with specific points you want to cover. As the questions are asked funnel your response to your key points.

Looking to grow within your organization – First do your research. Find ways where you can add value to your company. This can be a particular area that you excel at. It can be a trend you are noticing that effects your industry. Once you have all the necessary details schedule a meeting with your superiors. That meeting is your public speaking opportunity. When the time comes don’t ask for a raise. Ask for more responsibility. That can be taking lead on the information you presented. It can also be volunteering to train others in your organization on the concepts you excel at. That training is another opportunity to be in front of a group of people public speaking.

Sales / Entrepreneur / Building your personal brand – This is where there is the biggest opportunity to speak at events. Speaking at events does not equal more money. It does increase your opportunity. Never spoken at an event before? Volunteer. Start with non-profits and schools. They are the most open to first time speakers. In exchange for your time see if they can have someone take photos or video. This will help you grow your speaker profile. As your skill and self image grow, invest money to have a professional record you and get photographs. This will lead to future speaking engagements and paid speaking gigs. As an entrepreneur public speaking to investors can be crucial to your business.

10 Point Checklist for Public Speaking

  • Know your audience. Who are they, why are they there and what is valuable to them.
  • Come in with a goal set. This can be to educate, to close a deal, or to make people smile.
  • Be authentic. If you aren’t people will see through it. It also is fun to be yourself and to be vulnerable. That resonates with an audience.
  • Who inspired you and who did you learn from? Include them in the presentation. People believe in people who believe in other people.
  • Outline your presentation. You don’t have to write down every word you say but write down the key points and the transitions. I find transitions of topics to be difficult. I  make sure I outline them.
  • Add facts and examples. This is where your research comes in. Do the research. You are more confident when you have facts and examples.
  • Look for feedback. I have three people who I send my outline to and ask for suggestions. They are all people who are great public speakers. I listen to their feedback.
  • Practice makes perfect. Go through the presentation. Record yourself. Listen to it and practice some more.
  • Visualize yourself on stage, in the boardroom or wherever it is you are speaking. Paint the picture of your presentation and the reaction you are looking for.
  • Stick to your routine. Whatever your daily routine is, don’t deviate for it on the day you are speaking. This offers normalcy and will help keep you calm.


My name is John Zanzarella. I’m the CMO of Silverback Social and the CEO of the Westchester Digital Summit, To read more from me sign up for my newsletter or feel free to connect with me and explore how we can work together. If you like to listen, subscribe to our podcast, Remarkable You on itunes to hear more from Chris Dessi and I.

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