Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Will public speaking boost your employability?

The Glass Hammer, a blog for women in finance, puts public speaking at the top of its recent list of 5 ways to increase your employability.  From the article:
Speak at an industry conference about a project or initiative you have worked on – no one will know more about it than you and case studies are a perennial favourite on the conference circuit....If that still sounds too scary then start small with a talk at your local professional institute branch. Or offer your services to a women’s network – they would love to hear about your career journey. If you are just starting out, talk to university groups about how you landed your finance job.
If you're going to tackle speaking as part of your job search--whether you're looking for a change or currently unemployed--I'd add a few more tips to make sure you get the most benefit from your forays at the lectern:
  1. Network before and after your speech:  That means spending time talking to the organizers before and after, to plan your talk and to get feedback and let them know you'd like to speak again.  On the day of your talk or presentation, get there early enough to talk to audience members one-on-one and stay late to network after you've spoken.  Ask for a list of attendees, and collect business cards and follow up.
  2. Set up a web resources page for your audiences:  Post or share your slides, recommended reading on your topic, your resume or biography, and any other materials you want attendees to have. Make sure you have a tracking system to measure traffic before and after your talk.  Add links to your online profiles and resume.
  3. Publicize your speeches and presentations:  Share the names of the groups, your talk title, number of attendees or any other useful details on your own website, your online social-media profiles and your resume.
Not sure you want to start with a major speech?  Try these 4 stepping stones to get public speaking practice with briefer opportunities that are just as visible.

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