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Speak your way to success

September 19, 2010
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Word of mouth is one of the most effective means of advertising.

Potential clients are often won over by personal accounts of first-class professional cleaning services.

Scheduling public presentations in your community is a way to ensure that word of mouth advertising about your business comes from a knowledgeable source — you.

Though public speaking may seem daunting at first, it is one of the best means of establishing positive business relationships in your community.

Each time you speak to a group, your message can extend exponentially as your listeners talk to their friends, family and coworkers.

Be prepared
The first step to successfully speaking about any topic is preparation.

You must be confident and know the topic at hand well before delivering the message in public.

Practice delivering the presentation until you feel confident enough to speak in public. Giving your presentation to your family or coworkers beforehand is a good way to gain self assurance in front of an audience.

PowerPoint makes a point
Adding a visual aid to the program provides a guide for both you and your audience.

PowerPoint presentations are an easy way to include visuals, but if you don’t have access to a computer at your venue, poster boards or cleaning props can add to your program.

Look for a welcome mat
Once you feel prepared to step out in public, you must find organizations that welcome speakers.

Organizations to keep in mind include local civic organizations, women’s groups, churches and other associations.

Contact the national associations or organizations related to your topic to find out if there are any local branches in your area.

Many companies also welcome speakers during the lunch hour.

Networking helps
Contact your chamber of commerce for a list of businesses in your area, and scour the list for companies that may be interested in your message.

Your chamber of commerce may also maintain a speakers’ bureau to which you can belong.

A speakers’ bureau is a list of chamber members willing to speak to local organizations.

The bureau refers quality speakers to the community and provides speaking opportunities for chamber members.

Educate, don’t sell
When you contact the person in charge of an organization, be sure to emphasize that you are not selling any services during the presentation.

Public presentations are meant to be educational and create awareness of your company’s presence in your community.

Do not use a presentation to sell your services or give an introductory offer to your audience.

However, if someone inquires about your business, be sure to answer his/her questions to the best of your ability.

Send a thank-you note
Following your presentation, send a formal thank-you to your contact person at the organization.

A thank-you will help establish your relationship with that particular organization.

Also let the organization know you have several other presentations if it is interested in having you back again.

Good luck spreading the word about your business.

Dan Kirwan is executive vice president of operations for The Maids Home Services, one of the oldest and largest residential cleaning franchises in North America. The Maids Home Services serves over 40 states in the U.S. and four provinces in Canada. He can be reached at
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