One of the most effective ways for CPAs of small and mid-size firms to get exposure and build their brand without the advantage of a big marketing budget is through public speaking. Solo presentations or participation on a panel should be targeted, of course, to audiences that fit within the firm's profile of ideal clients - whether they are defined by industry sector, demographics, size or geography. Once you have selected the appropriate audience, it is important for you to fully leverage the opportunity to really demonstrate your area of expertise.
Speaking to a group of decision makers about a topic that is relevant to them is a wonderful marketing tool. But you need to do this well to get and keep the audiences' attention.
There are many consultants who have advice for how to be an effective presenter, but I am going to offer you a new perspective.
I suggest you try going against the typical trend and make your presentation memorable by NOT using power point. Take the focus OFF the technology - and put it back on you as the presenter by relying on a white board or a flip chart to emphasize your points. You will build credibility, demonstrate the depth of your knowledge, be more relevant and create a powerful bond with your audience when you step away from the laptop and the projector and interact with them. Try using a flip chart or some similar device to capture ideas, draw diagrams, or display charts and trends.
The more sophisticated the power point becomes, often the less flexible you are. If you are relying on slides to tell your story you may find that they actually create a barrier between you and the audience. It is harder to put the spotlight on you and the information you are sharing when you are referring to a slide show with many bells and whistles.
Power point is static, but a person moving around, writing and interacting, making eye contact, using simple and down to earth language, is dynamic and interesting.
The next chance you have to give a presentation to clients, prospects, business owners, or business advisors in your community, be vibrant - be flexible - showcase your knowledge - and make a lasting impression.
Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.