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Public Speaking for Consultants: How to Choose a Topic
by Gilda Bonanno

I enjoy answering reader questions. Here's a recent one:

Dear Gilda,

I want to start doing some speaking in my community.  

I am a marketing consultant for small and medium sized companies, and particularly those in the technology field.  I offer several different services, and would like to start speaking about topics. However, I am not sure how to start, and what topics to cover.

The audience could be technologists or a general audience, who would be interested in marketing topics.  Any suggestions would be welcomed.

Here is my response:  

Speaking locally is a good way for consultants to build name recognition and client base.

Start by making a list of all the potential topics you could speak about.  Think about the questions clients frequently ask you, the issues that you feel most passionately about, the interesting things you've noticed in your experience, the general overview you provide to people unfamiliar with the type of work you do, etc.


Once you have a long list of potential topics, then narrow it down to the topics that:

A)   You are most knowledgeable about AND


B)   You would enjoy speaking about AND


C)   Your potential audiences would be most interested in AND


D)   Will best highlight the areas of your business where you want to establish your expertise.


Once you've decided on the best topics, spend time preparing and practicing your presentation before you speak live in front of a real audience. 

Whatever your topic, you want to establish yourself as an expert who can communicate effectively.  Being an effective presenter means your presentation is clear, organized, focused on the audience's needs and delivered within the time limit.

To improve your public speaking, try the following suggestions:

  • Join a local Toastmasters club to have a place to practice and get feedback

  • Record yourself (video, audio) and get feedback from trusted colleagues or mentors

  •  Work with a presentation skills coach

  • Practice, practice, practice!

Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people from all walks of life improve their communication and presentation skills.  Copyright (c) 2010

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