Marketing is a crucial part of business, and it’s obviously worth investing time and money in promoting your product and your brand.

Some businesses are big enough to warrant a full-time marketing team; others outsource as required, to experienced marketing companies who know how to reach their target audience.

But where do you feature in all this? Are you maximising your own potential as a no-cost tool in your marketing strategy?

Networking and presentations are among the most effective marketing tools at your disposal. So why do so many of us avoid it?

Because it involves speaking. Out loud. To other people.

It’s a brave thing to step out from behind your desk and put yourself on the front line of your business.

But it’s an often-stated fact that career success is down to our ability to communicate effectively.  So, let’s look at the excuses we may be using for avoiding the limelight and refusing to sign up for public speaking training:

  • I never need to give presentations, so I don’t need to skill up in that area.

Okay, so you may not have to “present” in a formal way. But every time you enter a room, every time you answer the ‘phone, every time you speak up in a meeting…. you are ‘presenting’ yourself. You need to have a look at how you’re coming across. There’s always room for improvement. People buy in to YOU, so if you want to sell them your product or your business, you need to make sure YOU are not letting your marketing down.

  • I’m so bad at it, I leave it to everyone else.

I have actually heard this, more than once. Why would you do this to your career? You’re effectively holding the ladder still for your colleagues to climb higher and higher. Banish this defeatist attitude, take control of your own development and enjoy the career heights your new mindset will take you.  You’re not being generous, thoughtful or clever leaving the presentations to the people in your team who are “good” at it. You’re being lazy.

  • I hate it – so I avoid it at all costs.

Okay. This is the one I hear most.

It’s easy to avoid the things that we don’t like. I get that – there are plenty of things I hate doing and, subsequently, avoid. Years of drama training and performing forced me to grit my teeth and get on with it – hey, count yourself lucky you’re not being asked to get up in a room full of strangers and “be” the colour yellow for three minutes. I hated auditions, especially group auditions, and the associated feelings of dread. But they taught me to put my big girl pants on and get on with it.

It’s simple, isn’t it? If you want success, you have to take a risk. You have to put yourself out there. Sure, we can all shut the door, pull the curtains and make sure we never encounter anything remotely unsafe for the rest of our lives. But that isn’t living, is it?

Any coach worth their salt will make it a priority to ensure their sessions are fun and safe places to mess up, get better, and fly. It is not in our interests to make you feel uncomfortable, and I know I certainly take no pleasure in seeing people feeling anxious. Be brave, challenge yourself and, I promise you, you will start to enjoy public speaking.You cannot ignore the role you play in the success of your career, your product and your business.

  • I get too nervous.

I spend a lot of time working with people on nerves. We talk about why you feel the way you do, and what you can do to alleviate the symptoms. By far the best way to overcome your public speaking nerves is to do more public speaking!

Your relationships with your colleagues and clients are your best weapon in a competitive market. You are unique and people will choose to work with you if they feel you can connect and build a relationship together. Nervousness is normal, and when we accept that and move through it, we come out the other side feeling more resilient and confident.

  • I’m already a great public speaker.

Brilliant! Nothing makes me happier than people who recognise their talents and celebrate them. I’m tired of living in this world where no one feels they can accept a compliment without batting it back with self-criticism; where we’re all too afraid of being accused of “showing off”; and where confidence can be mistaken for arrogance.

As a parent, I spend so much time trying to praise and encourage my children so that they feel secure and confident in their abilities. I want my children to think highly of themselves, and yet the accusation as an adult that you “think highly of yourself” is a criticism designed to bring you down a peg or two.

When is that point in person’s life, I often wonder, where we stop building each other up, and start chipping away at each other, and ourselves?

Marianne Williamson’s most famous quote says all this more eloquently than I can:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others”.

(edited, from “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson).

Let’s show every facet of ourselves: our brilliance, our fears, our vulnerability…ourSELF.

Because yourSELF is free. You don’t need to build your cost into your marketing budget – you don’t need to allocate thousands to developing your logo and working out your best social media campaign. What you do need to do is invest in YOURSELF. Take the time to build your communication skills, develop your confidence and celebrate your gift that only you have: YOU.

My workshops focus on how to reveal the real you, so that your relationships -professional and personal- are authentic and real. Get in touch to see how I can unpack the tools you already have within you, and take your business to new heights using the best marketing tool you have: your voice.