How Financial Advisors Can Be Better Public Speakers

In my work as a Business Coach for Financial Advisors I often help clients develop Prospecting Strategies that include public speaking. Of course it helps that I am also a professional paid speaker presenting topics such as leadership, prospecting, and branding. There’s nothing like experience and success when guiding my clients in being better at what they do to prospect and offer value to their ideal clients. Being a better public speaker has HUGE rewards and can be a GAME CHANGER in the success you will enjoy as a financial advisor.


Besides public speaking, many financial advisors have fears or tasks they would rather not do such as bungee jumping off a 500-foot ledge, taking a dip in icy waters during winter, or spending the weekend with their in-laws.

According to Psychology Today, the population is made up of approximately 50-75% extroverts while the remainder is introverts. But even extroverts have trouble when presenting publicly. This is often because getting up in front of an audience causes sweaty palms, rapid heartbeat, a “deer in the headlights” look on your face, and a sense of dread.

However, if you are able to conquer the fear of speaking in front of an audience and deliver a powerful presentation, you will be much better at prospecting!


Three Sections to Read

This blog post is organized into three sections. Section I is about why you should learn to be better at speaking. Section II is about what you can do specifically in your talks to have a successful presentation. Section III is how to get prospecting results from your talk.


I.Why learn to be a better speaker?

Public speaking skills help you in many areas of your life. You will increase your confidence, not only about speaking in front of an audience, but also speaking to your clients, prospective clients, wholesalers, and other professionals. You will sound more polished and knowledgeable and present your expertise in a warm manner. You’ll be able to answer questions more quickly and thoughtfully than you have in the past.

Public speakers have credibility

The public looks up to speakers and simply putting yourself in front of an audience can provide extensive credibility to what you do for a living. When you demonstrate your knowledge in front of a group, it is the accepted norm that you are an expert.

What are you selling?

You are NOT pitching attendees a sales talk. No one likes to be SOLD. You are providing Financial Literacy and education; a valuable talk about how to avoid mistakes, how to do something correctly to save money, and how to do it on their own if they’re willing to spend the time. But, they could take the easy way and hire you to help them. That’s what you want.

Join Toastmasters

Within two weeks of joining Toastmasters, I received my first PAID speaking engagement and I’ve never looked back. I became a “Competent Communicator” after giving 10 prepared speeches focusing on 10 skills. These skills are the cornerstone of public speaking success. Not only that, I networked and met other professionals who referred me to opportunities I would not have had without being a Toastmasters member.

Study successful public speakers

Due to my long membership in Toastmasters, I became a student of successful public speakers. I bought tickets to live events. I watched webinars. I listened to top politicians to gauge their effectiveness. Often what I noticed is that many speakers have never learned to take control of their bad habits, such as too many “ah’s” and too much time looking at their notes. I’ll never forget listening to Condoleezza Rice on National Public Radio. I counted literally hundreds of “ah’s” during her talk. This is simply not acceptable. If this is you, get yourself straight to Toastmasters and learn to be a better speaker.


How to overcome fear

A.Practice being calm

I learned early on that there will always be some fear leading up to a presentation. These days it’s more like excitement about who I can connect with in the audience and the questions I may receive. But one tool I utilized even prior to my first paid talk was EFT, which stands for the Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT is a combination of acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT). I used the services of a professional to help me overcome “stage fright” and be calm during a talk. I no longer use EFT, but I certainly recommend it for my clients as it will calm your nerves, take your mind off your fears, and help you focus on delivering a wonderful talk.

B. Visualize being calm

In your mind, run through your body movements, your facial expressions, and your calmness. Train your subconscious mind to prepare for the talk being calm and relaxed. Visualize yourself shaking hands with participants, smiling, laughing, and having a good time.

C.Practice your talk and time yourself

You know the old saying “Practice Makes Perfect”? Well, it’s VERY true when it comes to giving a talk. Practicing will help you overcome fear and actually enjoy the process. You also need to know how long your presentation will be so that you can time your props and cues.

D. Visit the speaking location ahead of time

I always visit the room ahead of time to visualize where I will be standing, where the audience will be sitting, and to see the size of the room. In my head I see myself giving the talk, smiling at the audience, and having a good time.

E. Record yourself giving your talk (optional)

A great way to spot flaws is to video record yourself giving the entire presentation. Do you say “aahh” too many times? Did you forget to tell them about YOU? Did you forget to pause to let your points sink in? Did you use too many big words? Did you forget to SMILE?


II.What to do during your presentation

This next section contains success tactics to use while you are giving your talk. Most of the tips are from my personal experience since 2004 talking in front of groups.

Meet the attendees

I always show up early to station myself in the front of the room with the back of my body resting against the projector. I say hello to everyone who enters the room and I walk up and talk to the attendees. I ask where they’re from, what prompted them to attend, and what they most want to learn from the event. This practice builds engagement with attendees, allowing you to be “one of the gang” and more personable.

Establish your expertise and credentials verbally

Briefly, talk about who you are and why it matters that the audience listen to you. If you’ve been an advisor for twenty-five years, your listeners need to hear this. If you lack longevity, what else can you say? Well, if people have been coming to you for advice for many years, you can say that. WHY are you a financial advisor? What has happened in your life that made you WANT to become an advisor? What is it about what you know that should make people sit up and listen?

Open with a story – Tell your audience WHY this topic should matter to them

Create a link between what you’re talking about and WHY your group should listen. Is this a topic you’re passionate about? Have you seen people make grave errors over and over again and now you want to help people avoid this mistake? Have you seen married couples make the wrong selection when it comes to social security timing? Did your parents make this mistake? Did your clients make this mistake? What did it COST them? What happened in your personal life about money, that has affected you your entire life? People need real world stories to not only understand the points you are making, but to “bond” with you during your talk.

Tell jokes

Work your funny bone by telling jokes during your presentation. No one likes a stern, straight-faced presenter who reads off the PowerPoint. Insert your personality and humor into your talk.

Use your body and voice in your talk

No one likes a boring presentation where your voice is monotone while you stand still in one position. Learn to entertain by using your body and your voice. This is exactly what Toastmasters can teach you!

One thing I usually do in my presentations is talk about my father using my voice and body.

I tell the story of what my Aussie truck-driver turned international-gemstone-dealer father said to me when I told him I was going to become a coach. And I use my Australian accent, put my hands on my hips and say (imagine Aussie accent) “But Suzy, you’ve nevah been any bloody good at sports!”

I usually get a good laugh with that one.


III. What to do to get workshop results

Above I said “What are you selling?” and you read that it’s financial literacy and education. But are you simply holding this workshop out of the kindness of your heart? NO! You want to get results. You want to have appointments set up after your talk.

What are the magic words?

Tell your group with authenticity that you are here to help. Anyone who wants to investigate the topic further can set up a “No cost, no obligation” consultation to learn how they can take advantage of your knowledge and expertise. Take the pressure off.

Offer something of value

What can you provide that will motivate attendees to book a consultation? A free social security timing report? A free mini financial plan? A free second opinion? Create an offer that most people can’t refuse. And while you’re at it, design a hand out to place in front of all attendees so that they can see it at the beginning of your talk.

Speaking success equation

Many advisors I speak with have given talks, but usually only one. Or financial advisors say that their talks have never yielded results. The reason why is that one talk will not bring you the success you seek. MOMENTUM CREATES SUCCESS. Increasing forward motion allows results to build on results. Multiply your success by velocity!

Create a Marketing Plan where you are speaking a lot. Give 12 talks in 12 months! If you take a break over the summer, give more talks during fall, winter, and spring (except late November and December).

Get them in your drip marketing system!

Even participants who don’t make an appointment to discuss working with you may decide to do so in the future, so get them on your list! Your Newsletter List, your autoresponder list, your inbound marketing list, your automated blog postings. Have a drip system so that you continue to touch attendees on a regular basis and catch them when they NEED and WANT to hire you.



Being a better public speaker is NOT easy; otherwise EVERYONE would be doing it! But if you are determined to be the best you can be and to have the practice you’ve always wanted, there’s no better way than giving seminars and workshops to draw prospective clients to you. Contact me for a consultation to learn more!


How Financial Advisors Can Move Up the Earning Pyramid When They Hire an Assistant

Are you doing it all? Feeling overworked? Not enough time to think about where you’re taking your financial advisory business? Don’t have a five-year vision?

At a certain point in your solo career you will reach maximum capacity. When that happens and you do nothing about it, important issues may fall through the cracks. Not only that, you won’t have time to be the entrepreneur in your business, planning your branding and marketing, planning your long term goals.

At that time, you will need to hire an assistant if you want to progress and move up the financial advisor earning pyramid and have more time to run your business like an entrepreneur.

hire an assistant

One question I like my clients to ponder is:

What is your time worth?

If you are busy doing paperwork, onboarding new clients, creating model portfolios, calling custodians, and generally dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a business, you won’t have time to focus on growth.

Your time is worth at least $250 an hour! What you would pay an assistant to take some of these tasks off your plate, would be far, far less than that.

So, is it time to hire an assistant? Here’s a guide to what kind of assistant you need, when you should hire, what you should look for, the duties you want performed.


1.What kind of assistant do you need?

The first step is to figure out where you need to most help right now. It won’t be helpful to hire a full time assistant is you only need part time to start off, or if you only need marketing help.

Here are types of assistants you may need:

Executive assistant

Pt assistant

Virtual assistant

Marketing assistant

Project leader/manager

Relationship manager/assistant

Firm representative

2.When should you hire an assistant?

Ideally a financial advisor should hire an assistant when they can no longer handle their workload, they are going home late, or they are performing duties that are not valued at their hourly rate.

Some say when you are at 80% of capacity.

Employee turnover is one of the most expensive business costs, not to mention the slow down in getting work done. So once you find a good person, pay them well, mentor them, and take steps to keep them around!

3.What skills should you look for?

Know the skills and attributes you seek in your new assistant. Make a list of those skills. Do you need someone with great organizational skills? Great client skills? Project management skills? Marketing skills? Write out a list of skills needed.

4.What duties do you want performed?

Make a list of everything you want your assistant to do and then create a Job Description so that there is complete clarity around the job. You are better off listing too much, than not enough because if you later add duties, there may be some pushback.

5.Create good interview questions

You can determine a candidate’s aptitude and whether they are self-directed by asking the right interview questions. Use a mix of job-related questions and behavioral questions.

6.Consider having top candidates take a pre-hire assessment

To avoid making a bad-hiring decision, consider using an assessment such as

Calipers Pre-Employment Hiring Assessments or the Kolbe A Index – compare each team members’ results to see the gaps you need to fill.

7.How do you keep good people?

I see over and over again where a financial advisor does not incentivize, pay well, or mentor their people. This causes high employee turnover, more of your time invested in running the business, and training the new person.

People leave for 3 reasons

1.Lack of recognition & appreciation

2.Low salary without rewards

3.Don’t get along well with their boss/others in office

Make sure the above issues are addressed to prevent turnover and business disruption.



Hiring an assistant when you have reached 80% of capacity will help you become more productive, focus where you need to in order to move up the earning pyramid, and earn more for your hard work.

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