Photo by Spaceodissey
My friend Candy Troutman just posted a very important quote on our Facebook Page’s wall:
When the speaking invitations don’t rush in, remember that God is more interested in your character than your calendar. ~ Georgia Shaffer
So true! It can be very difficult when you feel called to speak, and you want to speak, but people don’t seem to be on board. They’re not banging down your door to ask you to come and bless them. In fact, it seems that most people are ignoring your efforts. You show people your new website, and they smile but don’t say much. You mention that you’re starting to speak, and people give you a strange look.
Or maybe you had a number of engagements last year, but you have nothing lined up for this year. You thought word of mouth would start the ball rolling, but it seems to have stalled. What now?
Here are some thoughts when the invitations aren’t coming:
1. Re-evaluate your calling.
Ask God what He wants of your time and effort. He may have other ideas of where you should put your energy. Let’s be honest: sometimes we feel called because we want something, but it’s honestly not where God wants you yet. So if you’re doubting, pray and ask for confirmation. I’ve had to do this numerous times, and it seems like whenever I’m ready to quit, God shows me I’m not supposed to.
I figure that if God wants you do something, it’s in His vested interest to make sure you figure it out! So if He doesn’t want you to speak, He’ll show you. If He does want you to speak, He’ll show you. But the key is that you have to be seeking what He wants, not what you want. Lay yourself down and tell Him that you’ll do whatever He wants. And you may have to wrestle with this for a while. But it’s an important exercise!
2. Re-Evaluate Your Skill Level
Now that you’ve done #1, it’s time to be honest with yourself. God may want you speaking, but perhaps you need to be equipped or trained just a little bit more. I know many people who have great stories to share, but they’re not sure how to do it, or they don’t do it to the best impact.
Are you speaking well? Are you speaking to change lives? Do you know the difference between speaking and teaching? If not, maybe it’s time for some more training. Check out my resources , or join Toastmasters so you get used to speaking in front of people and getting constructive feedback.
3. Re-Evaluate the Timing
Often I’ll receive no invitations for an age, and then suddenly three or four will show up in my inbox. That’s because churches tend to operate on certain calendars. Women’s ministry committees meet for the first time in September to plan. In October they often zero in on someone they want for their spring events, and they’ll contact them in October. Then nothing much happens again until the following spring when they start planning for the fall. You won’t tend to hear anything in December or July & August, or even September, because people either aren’t meeting or they’re only in the planning, and not the action, stage. So if you have nothing coming, don’t despair! It could simply be the calendar.
4. Re-Evaluate Your Marketing Efforts
Have you been staying in contact with those who are in a position to ask you to speak? Do you send out a newsletter? Do you collect email addresses when you do speak? Are you active on Facebook (where you talk about speaking) or on Twitter?
It could be that people like you, but they can’t remember your name so they can’t recommend you. If you send out periodic newsletters, you’ll stay in people’s minds and they’re more likely to pass your name along. That’s also why bookmarks are great ideas for giveaways! Have attractive ones printed (that’s far cheaper than a one-sheet), and people will tend to put them in their Bible. Then they’ll remember you if anyone ever asks if they know a speaker!
5. Re-Evaluate Your Support System
It’s hard to be a speaker because we’re lone wolves. We drive on our own, often or hours at a time, to an engagement where we know nobody. It’s hard to explain to our friends at home and at church what we’re doing. And then, if the speaking engagements run dry, we feel as if we’re going through this crisis alone.
Make sure that you surround yourself by two or three people who will pray for you and listen to you. Some of these may be friends you know in real life; others may be people you’ve met online in similar situations. Join my Facebook Page for that kind of support!
But remember that we can’t do this alone. Satan would like nothing better than to defeat us and make us give up. Make sure that you have a support system to see yourself through these dry times, so that you can grow from them, rather than be defeated by them!
6. Re-Evaluate Your Priorities
If speaking engagements aren’t coming in, maybe you need to see this not as a bad thing, but as an opportunity! I often bemoan the fact that I don’t have time to put my marketing efforts in order as I would like, or to get my website going as I would like, because I’m too busy. If you have some downtime, make use of it! Stay busy and active.
Take the time to freshen up your website or learn how to make a video. Take the time to research how to put a newsletter together, or research a new topic for a talk or retreat. Design those marketing materials you’ve always wanted, or start networking with other Christian women leaders in your area. Start a monthly breakfast in your area with women in ministry, so that you can get to know each other and help promote each other. Reach out on Facebook to others.
Just because the speaking requests aren’t rushing in doesn’t mean that your ministry has come to a standstill. Maybe this is the time you need to regroup and invest in taking yourself to the next level. Look at it as a gift. You have time to work through your to-do list, take that extra training, upgrade your website, and network. Some of this, in and of itself, may cause those requests to start. And, when they do come, you’ll be more prepared!
Filed under: Marketing Your Speaking Ministry, Speaking as a Business, Speaking Skills, Spiritual Aspects of Speaking | 2 Comments »