One of the best ways to develop local customers or clients

“4 Ways to Build Your Ezine List Without Spending a Dime,” by guest author Sandra Martini, was yesterday’s article on The four methods she outlines are well-established, effective ways. If you’re not using at least three of them, you are really missing out.

Unless you are a nationwide (or international) seminar giver, however, method #1, public speaking, is mostly useful for getting local subscribers. So, it’s best for those of you with local businesses. And for local businesses, it is outstanding.

The problem with public speaking as a method of developing clients or subscribers is that few people want to do it. After all, in study after study, people rank speaking to an audience as their top fear. People are more afraid of public speaking than of dying.

If you do have a local business rather than a web-based one, you would benefit tremendously from public speaking. It would be worthwhile to learn to overcome your fear and learn how to be a good speaker.

Also, you don’t need to limit your speaking to making free talks at local service clubs, the “Y,” and Chamber of Commerce meetings. That will certainly help get you known in the community. But, you can also make a great local name for yourself, get new clients and customers, and make a little money by giving half-day classes through the local community college’s continuing education program. This worked well before the Internet and works well now. Once you get comfortable speaking for audiences, this ever-effective way of showing off your expertise becomes exciting and enjoyable.

Although I’ve said it often before in my articles and blogs, the best way to get over the fear of public speaking is to learn to be a speaker in a less public environment with a lot of support from others. The organization that provides the environment and support is Toastmasters International. A great number of fine speakers started as Toastmasters. (I’ve often wished that school teachers and college professors were legally required to go through the program!)

Toastmasters has a great variety of clubs in almost every community in the U.S. They have meetings available in mornings, before usual work times, at lunch times, and in the evenings. You are bound to find a group with the kind of people you want to learn with, at a time you can get there. You could even start a club of your own and get exactly the right people in it.

If you have a local business and need to develop clients or customers from your community, give speaking — and Toastmasters — a try. Go to