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#383: Speaking Won't Give Away Your Company Secrets

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 01, 2010
The few times I have done some public speaking, I can't help but feel as though I am giving away too many "company secrets." Is there a way I can keep from doing this?

Probably like many consultants, we worry that our speaking presentations will "give away the store." We think that to give a compelling speech, we will tell my audience too much and will cannibalize our opportunities to attract new business.

One reaction is to turn our presentations into blatant advertisements for our services, beating people over the head with the idea that they should buy our products or services. Conversely, we may hide so much content, it seems as though we do know a lot but aren't willing to share it.

Instead of seeing this as "giving away everything," the opposite is actually true. Only by generating trust and eliminating high-pressure sales tactics will we succeed in coaxing new customers out of an audience. So lighten up and be willing to share your knowledge and expertise liberally. The trust you generate in return will more than make up for any imagined "stealing" of your hard-won secrets.

Tip: If you think someone will "steal" your ideas from a single speech, then prepare a combination of speeches, white papers and workshops to roll out your new research or ideas. This way, it is clear that they are yours alone and that they have value.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  presentations  publicity  reputation  speaking 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Friday, September 03, 2010
I remember several years ago in my first time as IMC NCR Programs Chair, a potenetial speaker from one of the Big 4 accounting/consulting firms withdrew from a speaking enagement because she was afraid she would be disclosing propietary information. This was one of the very few times that someone withdrew or refused to speak because of this concern, However, it is not a trivial mater, iand if you happen to be responsible for arranging programs, you should be sensitive to this issue.
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