But there’s a difference between the two, isn’t there? A dream is something that God gives us. The goals are the plans we have to achieve that dream.
So how do you set realistic goals for your speaking? I want, in this post, to give you a blueprint for setting concrete goals and making a speaking plan for the year. So get out your day planner and a pen or pencil, because we’re going to do some brainstorming!
First, how do you set concrete goals? Say you’re just starting out, and you want to make a realistic goal for the year. What’s realistic?
I tend to take the five year plan: in five years, if you work hard, and if you are called by God, you should be about at your height. You’ll be as busy as you want to be, and you’ll be making some sales. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow from there (you can always get bigger speaking engagements, for instance), but you likely will be as busy as you can manage.
So five years after starting, you should arrive. But let’s say you eventually want to speak for two weekends a month, or 20 times a year. Do you just divide that by five and plan for that this year?
No. In general, people’s speaking ministry grows in fits and starts. The first two years are building years, when you may not seem to get as much done. But then all of a sudden word of mouth will take off and your ministry will grow. So this year, even if you don’t have four, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to reach your 20. I might aim, for instance, for 2 paid speaking engagements and 3 free ones. Pray about something concrete that makes some sense to you.
Planning Action Steps Month by Month
Now, how do you achieve it? Pull out your daytimer and let’s think about this. The first thing you want to fill in, before anything else, is some downtime. That may not make a lot of sense, but I think it’s important for all speakers and writers to have some time during the year when they aren’t marketing or networking, but they’re just seeking God and equipping themselves. Personally, I think the best months for that are January and July and August, since there’s little happening then anyway.
So in January, don’t plan on doing a lot of marketing. Plan on equipping yourself and training yourself. Get some books on speaking. Take my E-course on How to Launch Your Speaking Ministry. Please, don’t go spending $1500 on promotional materials before you take this course! It will save you so much money by showing you where to concentrate your efforts at the beginning to make the most impact for the least amount of money. We need to be strategic about this!
I also have several teleseminars that will really help you, including one on how to Craft a Life Changing Signature Talk. If you’ve ever wondered how to put a talk together, this teleseminar walks you step by step through the process, and you’ll end with a skeleton of a talk that will make a difference in women’s lives!
Now let’s move on. The big speaking times during the year tend to be March-May and September-November. That’s when women’s events happen, retreats are scheduled, and dinners are held. They can occur outside of those times, but those tend to be the busiest seasons in a speaker’s year. It’s important to realize, though, that churches tend to book speakers 6 months to a year in advance. It’s already January, so it’s going to be hard to get some events booked for the spring. Instead, focus in March and April on contacting churches to potentially speak in the fall.
Assuming you’re going to do that in March and April, though, what can you do prepare to contact those churches in February? Why not contact your local Christian radio station with a cute filler they can use for Valentine’s Day? Prepare a “3 Things Women Can Do for Their Husbands”, or “How to Woo Your Husband this Valentine’s Day”. Or you could do a “3 Things Kids can do to Handle Valentine’s Day at School.” Anything that a DJ could read aloud during the busy hours. Type these out on a postcard and send them to the DJs, and sign it like this: “Sheila Gregoire, women’s speaker. Find her at www.sheilawraygregoire.com.” Now you get your name on the air and your website, and people will think of you as a speaker!
You can also spend February and March getting your website ready. Have a web presence so that when churches research you to hire you, there’s something they can look at. Start a blog with some devotions or spiritual thoughts, and include a page with your speaking topics and testimonials.
In May, you can begin contacting some of the women’s Bible studies in your area and ask if you can come and give a 15 minute talk for their final week of Bible study. Many churches are winding down for the season, and they may enjoy more of a social day, hearing you give a quick devotional. Offer to do it for free, and record yourself, and now you have some promotional clips you can use!
In the summer, spend a lot of time praying and working on your talks with the Lord. Ask Him to give you a new vision of Himself, so that you have something to offer.
By the fall, hopefully some of your efforts have paid off and you have a few speaking engagements booked. If you don’t, try writing up a 3-4 sentence blurb churches can use, like “3 Ways to Bless Your Child’s Teacher” or “How to Keep Your Marriage Strong”. Email it to local churches and tell them they’re free to put it in their bulletin as a filler. Make it short, concise, and insightful. Often churches have spaces in their bulletins and they need to fill it up. Sign it as “Sheila Gregoire, local women’s speaker”. Then people will think to contact you if they have something coming up!
In October and November, do the speaking engagements you have booked. And then in November and December, take the recordings from those talks and edit them into video and audio clips. Put 2-3 minute clips on YouTube, and create quick podcasts of some of the rest. We’ll talk more on this blog about how to do that.
And that’s it! There’s your year in a nutshell. By the end of the year, you’ll have a website, a clear, effective talk, recordings of your talks, promotional videos and audio, and some experience under your belt. Here’s the yearly plan again:
January: Equip Yourself. Take some training, including my e-course.
February: Contact your local Christian radio station. Get your website up and running.
March: Continue to work on your website. Contact some churches about speaking in the fall.
April: Network with churches in your area. Network with other speakers. Continue to talk to churches
May-June: Contact churches about doing a free talk for the end of the year women’s Bible study groups
July-August: Spend time with God working on your talks and getting fresh revelation from Him.
September: Prepare your talks. Contact churches you haven’t heard back from. Send out blurbs for church bulletins.
October-November: Give some talks.
November-December: Edit your audio and video and make promotional clips.
That’s it! Happy New Year!
Do you have any other ideas of things to do this year, and in what order? Let me know in the comments!
Do you want to achieve these goals in 2010? Click here for more help!