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Congratulations! You have your first online course!

You’ve burped it, shown it to friends – everyone loves it and says you’re a genius! Now it’s time to sell it.

How about using public speaking to get sales?

You might not be a speaker, but you have everything a good speaker needs: a topic, a product, the ability to identify problems and offer solutions. The only thing you don’t have is experience in front of an audience.

Before we get into how to find an audience, let’s look at why adding public speaking to your business plan is a great long-term strategy.

Why give a speech?

Something very special happens when you present to an audience—you become the expert in the room. You have their attention, you inspire them to resolve the pain they know they have and you guide them from problem to solution faster and better than they could on their own.

They love you and they want more.

When I first published my book, Give Me A Break, I had no idea about selling products from the stage.

I remember hauling a box of books to my next speaking engagement and just before wrapping up, nervously holding up a copy and half-whispering that they would be for sale after my speech.

That night, back in my hotel room, I emptied my pockets of all the cash and cheques from book sales. I was so stunned I had to count it twice! In about 20 minutes, off the corner of the stage I had almost paid for my entire book printing!

Now, my online course has replaced book sales and the results are even better, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The first step to speaking in public is to decide what you’re going to talk about.

What should you talk about?

Your speech should be a snapshot of your best advice—not a teaser. In fact, your audience should be able to able to use your solutions immediately.

First, let’s look at how much time you have.

Most speeches are 60 minutes. Take away your introduction, establishing the problem you’ll address, and the close, you have 20 to 30 minutes to deliver three to five solutions. While that’s only a small fraction of your course content, avoid the temptation to cram more content into your time on stage.

The trick is to use your time to give solid advice that inspires, motivates AND makes them want more.

Once you know what to talk about, it’s time to find your audience.

Your speech should be a snapshot of your best problem solving advice. #publicspeaking @HughCulver Click To Tweet

How to get an audience?

If your primary goal is speaking revenues, you need to focus on corporate and association markets. If your goal is course sales, you can add not-for-profit organizations, local service clubs, Meetup groups, and privately hosted events.

But before you start imagining telephone cold-calling, consider that your speech is a gift to the right event planner.

For example, most chamber of commerce offices have monthly meetings. While they might not have a speaker budget, they know the value of a good speaker for getting bums in seats at 7:00AM. When you reach out and tell them you’re willing to speak to their audience – that’s a gift.

The same applies for Rotary clubs, Lions, networking groups, and any not-for-profit with members who meet on a regular basis.

When I started in the speaking business I would speak to any audience that would have me. And while it was a lot of work, the venues weren’t always ideal and audiences were often small, I’m convinced that was my best source of market research, early sales and referrals for more speaking opportunities.

Of course, you also need to know if you can sell from the stage.

Can I sell from stage?

Every audience is different, but event planners have one thing in common – they put their audience first. If you have a product that helps apply what you’re talking about, they will want it.

In fact, many event planners will thank you for offering it to their audience.

If the event planner wants to license your course for delegates (this is more likely to happen with corporate clients) that makes life easy – agree on a price and you’re done.

Related: How To Use Joint Venture Partners To Promote Your Product

At first you’ll be nervous (just like me when I held up my book for the first time), but remember your course is a necessary part of the solution. Your solutions help them overcome pain and achieve their goals – that’s a good thing.

With a little effort you’ll get your first speaking engagements and with a little preparation you’ll have an audience hungry to buy your solutions. You might even like it!

How To Use Public Speaking To Sell More Online Courses #publicspeaking @HughCulver Click To Tweet

Hugh Culver is the founder of BOSS (Business of Speaking School), where he teaches experts the business of speaking. He is also the CEO of SOS (Stand Out Social), a social media service for bloggers. To get in touch with Hugh visit

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