2017 has begun! Do you feel the anticipation of a fresh start? Or the dread of feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities?
I loved Melanie’s post last week on choosing one resolution. I felt myself relax and sigh in relief at the weight of self-imposed expectations lifting off of me. I hope it gave you a sense of hope too.
One of the ways I have to approach growth and change is to make a pray-oritized (prioritizing under God’s direction) list, and I’d love to give you some ideas that you may want to put on your list this year as you seek to grow your speaking ministry. Having a list helps me to keep me from being overwhelmed as a work on one item at a time.
Speaking is a never-ending learning curve of always stretching to communicate in a clearer, more compelling way. No matter where you are in your speaking–a beginner or a seasoned veteran– you can take tangible steps to grow your speaking ministry. Here are my top seventeen tips for 2017:
- Spend a day (or as much time as you can carve out) in a quiet place with just your Bible and a journal. Worship, pray, and read God’s Word. Ask Him to speak to you about His agenda for you for the year. Write down what God shows you and ask Him to help you pray-oritize your steps. Read this blog post for more details about a retreat with Jesus.
- Pray before you speak, “Lord, help me to love You first and to love these women as you love them.” Watch your focus change and your nerves subside.
- Lay aside a percentage of each of your speaking fees for reinvestment back into your ministry.
- Purchase a book that will challenge you in your speaking and implement at least one new idea in your next message. My top two suggestions are Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
- Schedule time each week to work on your speaking ministry–studying, writing new messages or working on marketing tasks. Put it on your calendar and protect the time!
- Seek out someone who lives very differently than you as a friend. One of the ways God is expanding my horizons and teaching me new things is through some friends who do ministry in different arenas as well as two friends who live with significant handicaps. These friendships and the lessons we learn through them impact our messages significantly.
- Start saving your pennies and attend She Speaks. It’s a feast for your mind and soul! Registration will open early March. You can go the website today to sign up for an email alert when registration opens. Last year there were 1,000 women on the waiting list, so if this is your year, please, please register early so that you don’t miss out.
- Prayerfully set a goal for how many times you’ll speak this year. Be open to all kinds of venues for speaking (including making announcements, emceeing events, teaching Sunday school, etc), and speak as often as possible. Pray for chances to share God’s message and exercise your “speaking muscle”.
- Record yourself (smart phones make this super easy) and ask to be recorded each time you speak. Then, listen to yourself. I know it’s excruciating, but you’ll identify more needs for improvement by doing this than by any other single thing. Video is even better (worse?). Watching yourself will alert you to areas that need work.
- Create an updated sample speaking video for your website this year. I went years and years without a video on my website until a friend of mine who is an event planner said, “I would never hire a speaker without seeing a sample video!” It should be short and contain your best moments. Click here and scroll down a little to watch the video produced for me last year. I’m in the midst of working on another one this year. It’s that important!!
- Subscribe to blogs that will give you information about being a better speaker and getting the word out about your ministry. We’d love for you to subscribe here for our free weekly speaker tips, of course! We also have additional information posted on our Facebook page. Also, I recommend Micheal Hyatt’s blog as well as signing up for Rob Eager’s Monday Morning Marketing Tips.
- Listen to great speakers and analyze the structure of their messages. A few of my favorites are any of my Proverbs 31 sisters, Jennifer Dukes Lee (a former coaching client), Andy Stanley and Ravi Zacharias.
- Watch TED Talks to fill your mind with challenging ideas and the opportunity to listen to some fabulous speakers. Here are a few of my favorites: Reshma Saujani, Diana Nyad, Bill Gates, Jane Fonda, Amy Cuddy, and my all-time favorite, genius TED Talk by Jane McGonigal.
- Choose 12 of Tracie’s marketing ideas, and implement one each month this year.
- Get out and live a bigger life. Take a day-trip. Ride your bike. Play with children. Cook international food. Break out of your rut, and do something different! Not only will it energize you, it will give you material for your messages.
- Listen to podcasts for communicators. Communicator Academy by Kathi Lipp and Michele Cushatt has shows on topics for both speakers and writers. I don’t miss an episode!
- And last but not least…use Next Step Speaker Services to help you individually with message development, editing your writing, message evaluation, developing marketing pieces. If you’d like to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION CALL click here.
Melanie and I are here to be your cheerleaders for all of 2017! We’re in this growth process right along with you, so let’s take some next steps together.
I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’re planning your speaking year! Which of these tips will you add to your pray-oritized t0-do list? How about copying this list and putting it into your own Word doc so that you can add, delete, and change the order according to your pray-orities?