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“Learn step-by-step how being great at public speaking will help to give you a reputation as the smartest person in the room”.


By: John D. Gaskell, author of:

           How to become the “SMARTEST PERSON” in the Room.

You are what you are perceived to be. Let me show you how to become a MARKETING genius.


Public Speaking (Part 10 of a multi-part article)

Almost any kind of public speaking engagement enhances your image and credibility.


Most professional organizations offer continuing education courses. It will enhance your reputation to arrange to be a guest lecturer.

The RI Chapter of the Illuminating Engineering Society every couple of years offered either a Basic Lighting Course or an Advanced Lighting Course. Instruction was for three-hour sessions on eight nights. Not surprisingly (since I was the RI Chapter’s Founding President), I was asked to be the instructor. I agreed to teach the first night and help select instructors for each of the other sessions. Eight lectures would have required a great deal of time and preparation. Also, in addition to giving me some publicity, it allowed me to help some of my contacts to get some notoriety. My lecture also gave me an opportunity to scope out some future employees.

Don’t let yourself get roped into a multi-night public speaking engagement at a local college. It is very time consuming with little benefit, poor pay, and (in most cases) no student appreciation.

New Service Lectures

Every time that you start a “new service,” try to obtain a public speaking engagement at any professional organization whose members might use your service or recommend you. We had a local mayor who had the reputation of being available to speak at the “opening of an envelope”; my criteria were not much higher. Prepare a PowerPoint presentation and hand out your announcement. If the organization actually does a mailing, try to get the program chairmen to enclose your announcement so those who don’t come to the meeting will receive your information. At the meeting, don’t pass out the announcement until after your lecture because attendees may read it instead of listening to you. Take the opportunity to make new contacts and to enhance your reputation as a public speaker.

Major Seminar

When something dramatic happens, seize the opportunity.

In 2003, we had a tragedy in Rhode Island. 100 people perished in a fire at The Station nightclub. This catastrophic event was the impetus for a dramatic overhaul of our state fire code. The most revolutionary thing about this new code was that it was retroactive; the “grandfather clause” did not apply. All existing buildings were required to meet the new code.

I had recently been appointed to the “RI Building Code Standards Committee” and was too busy to take part in the overhaul of the fire code. But once it became law, I decided to put on a “free” seminar to educate fire officials and building owners of the new impact.

All my project managers were expert fire alarm system designers, and we had kept up with the proposed changes on a daily basis. But we spent a lot of time to make sure that we understood which building types required which upgrade and the required time table. I decided that my staff would be the “panel of presenters” and “field the questions.” I personally introduced our services with a PowerPoint presentation, describing the advantages of hiring a consulting engineering firm to design fire alarm system upgrades.

I rented the largest banquet hall at the fanciest, centrally located hotel in the state for a grand buffet breakfast meeting. We did a mailing to our mailing list and to the mailing lists of all the Chambers of Commerce throughout the state. We did radio advertisements (1-minute spots liberally mentioning our company name) starting 10 days before the seminar. Note: Ethically, advertising by engineers is severely frowned upon, but these were “Public Service Announcements” sponsored by an engineering firm, so not a problem. I had many sleepless nights wondering if we would make incompetent fools out of ourselves and provide breakfast to only a handful of fire officials.

We had over 500 guests, and our seminar was an “enormous” success. It generated well over $1/2M in fire alarm system design fees over the next 5 years and promoted other types of engineering work for us throughout New England.

I am certainly not saying to take advantage of the misfortunes of others. But I am saying to look for opportunities, have the courage to proceed, and do it first class.

After the seminar, I mailed a new service announcement to all attendees and made a personal phone call to all who were potential clients. I thanked them for attending and inquiring about their needs. I also asked if they knew of anyone who might also need our services. If I got a referral, I always started the conversation by saying, “I’m calling at the request of . . .” Always ask for the job.

If you truly want to be perceived as “The smartest person in the room”, get Jack’s new book: How to become the “SMARTEST PERSON” in the Room, and learn the details. You are what you are perceived to be. Let me show you how to become a MARKETING genius. Visit: to find out more.

Excerpted from How to become the “SMARTEST PERSON” in the Room. © 2018 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Order at Use coupon code “room” and save.

Learn how to become admired. Find out how to become the smartest person in the room. Discover how to appear professional. Find out how to appear knowledgeable. Learn how to obtain training in public speaking.