The hardest part of being an entrepreneur is simply talking to people. If you don’t know what to say to people, or you don’t know how to say it well, you can’t make the sale, get a client, or share information about your company. In short, being able to speak about your business is the only way you’re going to get business or stay in business.
Michelle Mazur, a longtime speaking coach with a Ph.D. in communication, makes public speaking easy-okay, not easy, but easier and less painful than doing nothing. You’ll become a much better speaker simply by following her practical advice and suggestions in her new book Speak Up for Your Business: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Transformational Presentations that Tell, Sell, and Compel.
Nor is this your average “how to” book on public speaking. It’s more like a Toastmasters Manual on steroids. As a former Toastmaster myself, I felt I knew a lot about public speaking, but Michelle surprised me with all the great advice in this book, and she kept me interested all the way through with her down-to-earth humorous writing style and her entertaining stories. In other words, she speaks like she writes and vice-versa, and it has served her well, so she’s the perfect coach for anyone who wants to overcome the fear of public speaking or take his or her speaking abilities to the next level.
Right from the start, what I appreciated about Speak Up for Your Business was that Michelle tells people to quit trying to fake who they are. Her call to action includes, “Let’s stop copying other great communicators out there and start being ourselves!”
Michelle then walks the reader/would-be speaker through the process of crafting a speech. The main concern here is to have something worth saying, to create what she calls a “Transformational Talk.” The many steps to this process include how to find your BIG IDEA, know your audience (including stalking the audience members online before the big speech), the entire process of speech writing from beginning to end-although she tells us not to do it in that order-and all sorts of problem-solving advice, including why you should avoid the Q&A session at the end of your speech and how to adapt your presentation to whatever unexpected circumstances arise. Michelle even offers advice on how to get more speaking gigs-and it’s not by contacting her to get her free kit or sign up for her next workshop-because she’s all about taking the sleaze out of selling-I mean, public speaking-and delivering real value to your audience.
Michelle’s down-to-earth personality shines throughout the book and helps to get her point across. She’s not afraid to share her own triumphs and, even more, her faults, and she reminds us that we don’t need to be the audience’s hero because then we seem unreachable. Rather, we need to connect to the audience. I loved her chapter on embracing your inner F-bomb-that F-bomb is not what you might think it is. But that doesn’t mean people don’t occasionally say something they shouldn’t-Michelle even shares the time during a presentation when a word came out of her mouth that shouldn’t have and how she dealt with it.
I can guarantee that reading this book will help you become a better public speaker. As an author myself who often is asked to give presentations, I’ve found many helpful hints and ideas as well as examples of what not to do that I will apply to my own future presentations. Whether you are an author, business owner, employee who just wants to make a case for why you deserve a raise, or someone who wants to promote a charity-whatever your business or purpose in life, reading Speak Up for Your Business is going to help make a big difference for you, your business, and most importantly, your audience-it’s really about the audience, not you-just another of the great tips I learned from Michelle.