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3 Steps to Your 'Unfair Speaking Advantage'

3 Steps to Your 'Unfair Speaking Advantage'
Image credit: Michael Yarish/AMC
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You’ve heard plenty of times that public speaking is a great way to promote your business. You know that speaking positions you as an expert and gets you in front of people who want what your business offers. You're aware that public speaking can raise awareness of, and market, your business.

Related: 10 Tips to Beat Your Fear of Public Speaking  

But here is a newsflash: Speaking gigs are not so easy to come by. If your presentation does not stand out, it’s destined to be lost in the sea of sameness.

To be a successful speaker, then you must do more than prepare, practice and calm your nerves on the big day. To grab that spot they want on stage, entrepreneurs need to find what makes them different from all other speakers in their industry.

In short, they must discover what "unfair speaking advantage" positions them as the go-to, must-book speaker in their field. To position your own presentation and business in a "category of one" while creating a presentation audiences will love, here are three actionable steps.

1. Get clear about the change you seek to make.

When entrepreneurs book speaking gigs, their minds begin to spin about the opportunities. "How many new clients can I get?" "How many sales can I make?" "Will they invest?"

Your unfair speaking advantage does not begin with you, the speaker; it starts with the audience.

Related: 3 Steps for Getting Paid for Public Speaking

In presentations, buy-in is more important than buy-now, or as Simon Sinek sees it: “We can tell if you’re a giver or a taker, and people are more likely to trust a giver -- a speaker that gives them value, teaches them something new, inspires them -- than a taker.”

Speeches that stand out to audiences are the ones where the audience is changed by what the speaker says. So, before you type one word on a PowerPoint slide or jot one point on an outline, answer this question: As a result of hearing me speak, how will my audience be changed?

2. Develop strong viewpoints

A presentation that pushes boundaries causes audiences to think about your topic differently, and even stirs a bit of controversy. Too many speakers simply recycle the wisdom of the greats who have gone before, discuss the same case studies and cite the same research.

These speakers sound like everyone else because they are presenting the same content everyone else has; and their individual businesses get lost in the crowd of competition.

Developing your own, unique strong point of view is critical to finding your unfair speaking advantage. The authors of the book, Rework, say it best: “A strong stand is how you attract superfans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider and more passionately than any advertising could.”

You want your audience to become your advocates, and the only way to do that is through a well-crafted viewpoint. The best question to ask yourself to find your point of view? What about my industry makes me go on a rant?

Rants are ravishing to your ideal customers. Because, if a practice or idea in your industry annoys you, you can bet that your audience feels the same way. Then you’ll be remembered as the speaker who finally said something about it.

3. Own your difference factor.

In any industry you’ll have competition. Sally Hogshead, creator of the Fascination Advantage, believes that, “Different is better than better.” Your business could be the best in your field, but if people don’t understand what makes you different, your business will blend in.

So, to be the go-to expert for speaking, own your difference factor. That is what makes you unique; it sums up your experience, your story, your personality and all of your quirks.

Bring this difference factor to every speaking gig, because, no matter how much competition there is in your industry, no one can out-compete you at being you.

The experts are right. Public speaking is an excellent way to promote your business; but to be successful, tapping into your unfair speaking advantage is critical. The more you stand out on stage, the more helpful you are to your audience, the more your business will grow and thrive.

Related: How to Build Your Business Through Public Speaking