Face your fear: public speaking in the short-term rental industry

With conference season in full flow, it feels timely to look at how to maximise public speaking opportunities when they arise. How do you perform up on stage or in front of a mic?

PR is all about storytelling. It’s about the message you deliver and, crucially, how you deliver it. A carefully crafted PR message will get lost in the weeds unless it is communicated succinctly, authentically and with some personality. Something which is often overlooked…

If part of your PR strategy is to make your CEO, or other senior leaders, an expert in the hospitality tech sector or property management field, then she/he needs to be able to deliver the company’s message in a variety of arenas. For example, a CEO might be invited to speak at a conference, to be interviewed for a fireside chat, offered an interview with a journalist, or to be a guest on a live webinar.

Each of these forums is a public appearance and an opportunity to showcase the company’s product/services and to build a reputation. So don’t send yourself or your CEO out into these scenarios without some careful planning and practice first.

Some people are naturals in front of a camera or onstage, and others might dread the thought of public speaking. Whichever way you lean, everyone can benefit from a little polishing. Training might sound like an expensive, unnecessary add-on but actually it’s a key part of getting your message across.

Here are some top tips:

Preparation is key…

Only embark on a public appearance when you feel ready. If you feel confident in what you are saying and in how you will react to interview questions or to being in front of an audience then your message will come across.

Professional public speaking training with the right experts can give you that confidence. It’s an investment which will pay off. Make all your mistakes in a safe environment before you head out on stage. Listen to any advice on how to dress (or blaze your own trail), how to hold yourself. Conduct practice sessions with colleagues and work out what you’d like to say – this will take time.

It’s not just what you say it’s how you say it…

We’ve all heard it before, but body language in these situations really does count for a lot. Positive, open body language can be brought out through training sessions. Develop these skills and they can be a powerful way of delivering your PR message.

One tip we at Abode Worldwide often give to clients is to get a colleague to video your speech at a conference, for example, so that you can watch it back and note areas for improvement.

Connect, don’t sell

Part of having a thought leadership strategy is building your profile as an expert: on technology trends or OTAs or property management, for example, in the short-term rental ecosystem.

In order to do this, your audience needs to be able to connect with you. They don’t want to be sold your product directly but rather they want an interesting story or guidance from someone in the know. When you have an opportunity to speak publicly – use it to bond with your audience. Warmth and humanity go a long way….

If you would like to know more about public speaking training or to have an informal chat with us about your PR strategy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

About Helen Wedgewood

Helen is Head of Content at Abode Worldwide, a specialist PR and content marketing agency partnering with clients operating in the international vacation and short-term rental space. www.abodeworldwide.com

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