It’s a rule of thumb that speakers need one sheets, right? A glossy, 8 1/2 x 11 sheet with a picture of you, a list of your topics, your tagline, and some testimonials. Google “Christian speaker” and “one sheet” and lots of examples will come up.
And if you’re just starting out, and you want to seem professional, it can be tempting to have some made up.
I think, though, that that may be jumping the gun. I had my first one sheets made up a little early: before I knew all my topics, before I had a good, professional picture, and before I was well-established. What I’ve found over the years as I’m speaking is that promotional materials, like one-sheets, are secondary to the process of hiring a speaker, not primary. What we need to do is work on the primary methods that will encourage venues to hire us.
And what are the primary methods?
Word of mouth. Word of mouth. And did I mention word of mouth?
The primary way that speakers are hired is by word of mouth. Often the promotional materials aren’t even necessary! For some of the bigger venues, they’ll hear of you first, and then they’ll ask you for your one sheet or for a demo CD or DVD. But the word of mouth comes first.
When you’re starting out, then, the main thing you should be concerned about is how to generate word of mouth. The professional promotional materials come later, once you have some experience under your belt and you’re looking for the really big engagements.
And how do we generate word of mouth? First, we have to be excellent. When we speak well, when we lead people on a journey where they open themselves up to what God has to say, then they will remember us. We will have an impact. If you get up to speak and you try to come off as an expert, rather than coming off as genuine, you lose the opportunity to generate needed word of mouth. When you touch people with humour, when you touch them with your story, then the next time they’re in a situation when they hear of someone who needs a speaker, they’ll mention your name.
When we want to get the word out, then, the idea is to help those who have already heard you or who have already read your articles and books make it easy to recommend you. For that, you need at least a basic website, you need to have some sort of a regular newsletter that you send out so they keep in touch with you, and you need to be excellent. Even if you’re only doing small venues, do what you can to let others know how they can find you again.
It can take money to keep a website, but a blog is free, and if you use a WordPress blog, you can have a separate page where you put your speaking topics and your contact information. And the more you collect email addresses, the bigger your list will eventually be.
Once you’ve spent some time doing small engagements, you’ll eventually want to invest in “real” speaker promotional materials, like a demonstration CD and a one sheet and some artistic business cards, but don’t jump the gun too early. It’s better to spend the money, at the beginning, on training, on a website, and on recording some of your talks.
If you want more information on this strategy, I have an audio download available of my teleseminar that I recently gave that helps you learn how to build this word of mouth early, how to find small speaking engagements to start, and how to collect testimonials. It’s a great way to build your ministry systematically, bit by bit, so that you build your professional image and learn to do it well.
Learn more here.
I know it will help you as you build your ministry, and build buzz for what you have to offer!
Enjoy your summer!