Maybe last year you had three paid speaking engagements, so you were hoping to have ten this year. But you’ve had three again. Or perhaps you dreamed of breaking out of speaking engagements for roughly 50 people each time, and speaking to hundreds. But that’s not happening.
Yesterday on my Use Your Words BlogTalkRadio show I talked about how to break out of a rut, and propel your ministry to the next level. You can listen to the 30 minute program here.
Let me let you in on the three principles that I shared:
1. Don’t be Boring
People underestimate how used to being bored audiences are. Most of the time that a speaker is talking, audience members are planning errands in their minds, thinking over shopping lists or to-do lists, and in general not paying attention.
It’s hard to capture an audience’s attention today.
That’s why if you come in and are actually interesting, people will tell others about you because you will stick in their minds.
And since word of mouth is really the only thing that generates speaking engagements, you absolutely MUST be interesting and engaging.
I talk about that in this blog post, 7 Ways to Bore Your Audience. Follow that advice, and they won’t be bored. They’ll be engaged. And then they will tell others about how great a speaker you are, because you will stand out from the crowd!
2. Get Strategic in Asking for Speaking Engagements
If you’re finding that your engagements have sputtered, and you aren’t getting very many requests anymore, think about speaking very strategically somewhere that you can talk to women from as many churches and areas as possible.
And the best place to do that? Conferences. Look into conferences in your area and propose 2-3 ideas of workshops that you can do. The workshops must teach a skill or address a need, so they’re not exactly the same as giving an inspirational talk. But the good thing is that you get to stand before women from a variety of churches who can then recommend you.
At that workshop, mention at the beginning and the end that you speak at churches and do retreats. At the end, say something like, “I’d love to come and share this message with your church, so please speak to me if your church is looking for speakers.” And then have some business cards on hand.
Where do you find conferences? Think about denominational conferences (even outside your own denomination), homeschooling conventions, MOPS conventions, worship conventions, or general women’s conferences. Look anywhere you’re willing to drive to, so it can be far from where you live. And then search online and make a list of all the recurring conferences in your area. Start contacting the organizers. And see where it goes!
In one year I did the main conference for the Christian Reformed Church, the Salvation Army, the North American Baptist, and two homeschooling conventions, and from those I had tons of speaking engagements. Now, I was actually keynoting at many of them, but when I was just starting, I did workshops at these types of conferences, too. And it’s amazing how those workshops can add to more things.
3. Project the Image “I’m a Professional”
Sometimes you’re stalled in small engagements because that’s the image you give off. If you want to get a larger engagement, you need to look as if you’re ready for it. I know this sounds petty, but image does matter, both in person and online.
So dress well. Invest in 2-3 outfits for speaking that are high quality, dynamic (as in not browns & blacks & beiges), and interesting to look at. Have a fashionable friend shop with you if necessary.
Get a good haircut and learn how to apply some basic makeup.
And then, make sure that your website looks like it belongs to someone who speaks frequently. Invest in a professional photograph, and put pictures of yourself speaking up on your website. Make sure your topics are easy to find, and testimonials from other people. But a high quality photo and a well-designed website will do much for giving the impression that you are professional and that you take speaking seriously.
A poorly designed website says, “I do this just for a hobby, and I haven’t invested in it.” A large church isn’t going to hire you then. So pay the money and get a graphic designer for your website, and hire someone to take a good photo!
There’s lots more in the download. Listen to the whole show here, and tell me what you think! And if you have ideas for future shows, or something you want me to cover, let me know!
This summer I’ll be starting a series of webinars that you can take to learn more about building your speaking ministry. I’ll announce those soon, and I do hope you’ll join me.