A common question I’m often asked by my clients who are certified life coaches is, “How do I find more clients?” There are many ways to approach this issue, but public speaking through workshops or seminars is a wonderful way to connect with potential clients. Although your web presence is essential, don’t overlook the community where you live or any speaking opportunities that come your way.

Why speaking is valuable:

Speaking establishes you as the expert on whatever coaching topic you are addressing. As you share your knowledge you become a resource for others. Then when someone is looking for a coach, they won’t hesitate to contact you or refer their friends, co-workers or relatives because they know you have the expertise.

Public speaking enables you to build a professional relationship in a non-threatening way. When you share your ideas and experiences, you are no longer a stranger to those in your audience. They may have been intimidated by the idea of having a professional coach or of having you as their coach, but through your personal stories they discover they relate to you as a person. In our hi-tech world the face to face encounters are more important than ever.

Speaking not only gives you creditability but visibility. The more people see your name in brochures, ads, posters, or hear your name in a public service announcement, the more familiar you become.

And that visibility can save you thousands of dollars in marketing your coaching business. Maybe a potential client isn’t able to hear you speak but when they read about your message in the newspaper, Sunday bulletin or through a website, your services are being advertised. Those who do attend and enjoy your message might invite you to speak at their event which further promotes your name recognition.

Public speaking is also a great way to show people that you’re willing to give of your time and expertise. When you share helpful information that meets a real need in their lives, you’re communicating that you care about them and the challenges they face. Since people are turned off by someone who is trying to sell them something, speaking is more helpful in building your practice than giving a sales pitch about the services you offer.

The bottom line is that unless you are a national expert in your field or have a continual stream of referrals, it is challenging to find clients without some kind of speaking platform.

But what if you struggle with the idea of speaking? What if the thought of standing in front of others and giving a presentation terrifies you? Or maybe you are willing to speak publicly but you know you need to refine your skills to become more effective on the platform. Whether you are frightened to speak or want to develop your talents, consider having a communication coach.

Why communication coaching is helpful

Communication coaches work in many different areas. Some specialize in voice training. Others concentrate on improving your media skills for interviews on TV or radio. Since this article focuses on public speaking, a coach in this area would guide you in preparing and practicing your message so that it is succinct and memorable. There is so much noise in the marketplace today that it has become necessary to be an effective communicator. I’ve noticed more than one bored listener tune out a speaker using their phone to surf the internet and catch up with email.

What does a communication coach do?

While some people seem to be naturals in creating and crafting a clear concise message, most of us need to learn the skills and techniques to do this. Through individual and/or group coaching, you are supported in defining your message and crafting a catchy title. An attention grabbing title is key to creating interest in your seminar because your title and name will be listed anywhere the event is promoted. Many professionals suggest creating titles that appeal to both the left brain and the right brain—use a creative title with a subtitle that clarifies the content of what you are going to present. For example, one of my messages for singles is entitled How NOT to Date a Loser: Strategies for Making Smart Choices. The title of another presentation on managing your emotions is Time to Take Out the Trash: Dump the Emotional Junk Before You Trash Your Relationship.

As you identify your key points and select your illustrations, a communication coach will brainstorm with you and give feedback on potential problems before you address an audience. A coach will also help you to capitalize on the strengths of your personality enabling you to become a more powerful, confident communicator.

Whether you consider yourself to be a speaker or not, remember that if you can talk, you can speak. Yes, you may need to acquire a few more tools to help you prepare and deliver your presentation. But these are skills you can learn. Be willing to face your fears and get out there. It’s okay to make mistakes — they make you real and authentic. When you begin to see the results of your efforts and how you are able to connect with potential clients, then you’ll realize that speaking truly does build your coaching business.

Georgia Shaffer is an author, professional speaker, licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania and a certified life coach who loves to coach the coach. She has helped clients nationwide polish their presentation skills, working one on one with individuals like Anne Beiler, founder of Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and with small groups such as the Journey of Sisters. She is a frequent presenter for AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Series and a board member of the International Christian Coaching Association. Georgia’s latest books include Taking Out Your Emotional Trash and How NOT to Date a Loser. For more information visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.

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