How To Decide What To Say When Speaking in Public

October 15, 2015

How To Decide What To Say When Speaking in Public

Have you ever been to a networking event, industry conference, or watched an online video, and wondered: “What are they talking about?”

A confused prospect never buys, so are you saying too much for your audience to understand? As a small business owner, make sure that your presentation has the impact you desire.

Can you describe the key message of your presentation? If you can’t, then how can your potential clients? As Albert Einstein put it, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” With that in mind, would you like two simple tips to help you decide what to say before you speak?

Know Your Audience

How much do you know about your audience before you speak? If you’re going to speak about your business at a breakfast networking event, can you describe the problems that your fellow participants face? If you’re going to give an investment pitch to an investor, how much do you know about their investment style, their expected rate of return, or their other investments?

Ask questions in advance. That could mean making phone calls, sending emails, or distributing surveys ahead of time. It may also involve showing up early at important meetings, conferences, and networking events to speak to your audience.

The more you understand your audience and what they want to hear from you, the more relevant you can become.

Have A Speaking GPS

Isn’t it easier to travel when you have a GPS? You’re less likely to get lost, and you’re most likely to get to where you want to go, quickly. Now imagine having a GPS for your presentation. To maximize the impact of your presentation, begin with the end in mind.

It’s easier to align your message and talking points when you know what you want to achieve from your talk. Are you speaking to motivate, to educate, or to sell? Or is your purpose to achieve all three? Think in advance about your presentation’s purpose. As motivational speaker Brian Tracy says, “You can’t hit a target you can’t see.”

Even if you get distracted or taken off course when you speak, you can steer your presentation back on track when you know your destination. Also, after you present, you can objectively measure your success against your expectations.

Key Message

As a small business owner, you may often need to speak to groups. Understand your audience and have a speaking GPS, to present with purpose and optimize your impact.

Discover more secrets of public speaking for small business owners in my upcoming book, From Presentation to Standing Ovation. Want to receive a free Kindle copy? (Available for a limited time only.) Sign up and receive free bonuses at


Ron Tsang

Ron Tsang helps entrepreneurs give compelling presentations to clients, employees, and investors. He has empowered his clients to understand and master critical areas of public speaking since 2004. Ron has an MBA from the University of Toronto and an HBA from the University of Waterloo. Find him on Level Up Workshops and folllow @rhtsang.