Four Takeaways From My Public Speaking Debut

Public Speaking Tips

Public Speaking Tips

As marketers we get used to giving advice, whether that’s one-on-one consultation meetings or through email exchanges. I’ve also done a number of group training sessions and workshops with a handful of people to cover a topic or as part of a strategy session.

Something I’d never done before was a talk, until last week at Business Hive Live. Our Christmas talk about Facebook Ads and how they’re much like dogs, not just for the festive period, seemed to go down well but it was a completely new sensation for me.

Here are my four key takeaways for anyone embarking in this situation:

Don’t overthink it

You know what you’re going to talk about or you wouldn’t be asked to do it. But in the run up to the day, I couldn’t stop thinking about what should or should not be added, how I should pitch it and specific things I needed to say. This was the complete wrong way to go about things because it makes for a formulaic talk and can make you more nervous. While there are always things to research, the key is to Keep It Simple Stupid.


Or at least, not much. It’s something Alex (our MD) always bangs on about and it’s so important to remember. Two things happen when you have text on slides: 1) You read off it and 2) People don’t listen because they’re either reading it or making notes. Seriously, take a look around at the next talk you go to. Again, you know what you’re talking about, take in a loose outline and go with it.

Get personal

People buy people, the chance to speak to them is the opportunity to create or develop a relationship with them. Whether you worked at a social media giant (like Alex did), lived abroad for a while (like I did) or had a life event that fits into your talk (see my Christmas Marketing Ideas for Digital Success blog for more on that!), there’s an opportunity to get personal and talk about something that has impacted your life. Making this resonate with the audience can often make them think of times when it’s happened in their life and how what you’re talking about really makes a difference.

Give the audience takeaways

The chance to speak isn’t the time to sell. It’s a time to gain trust, network and get yourself in front of both people who know you and those who don’t. One thing they need to be able to do at the end is have something to work on immediately. Not something that requires you or your business, but some simple ways to get thinking. The end of our talk left people with five things to do tomorrow, real tangible changes that can be done without external support.

So there we have it, these are the main things I learnt from that experience and hopefully it’s something I’ll be doing more of in the future. If anyone has other public speaking tips, please do share!


Jonathan Bell
Head of Marketing
Knapton Wright