Welcome to the August edition of If You Write It You Can Speak It.
A Four Step Action Plan To Gain An Audience.
In my first issue of If You Write It You Can Speak It, I talked a little about my own journey, feeling called to speak and waiting on Gods’ training and timing.
Today I want to talk to you about the what next—your what next.
So you feel called by God to be a speaker. How do you find someone to speak to—gain an audience?
Early on when I was learning to write I interviewed a pastor’s wife for a post I was working on about perseverance (she was a marathon runner). During the interview this pastor’s wife asked me what I was passionate about? I told her I felt more called to speak than to write. And like so many others I shared this with, she asked me the obvious question.
“What kind of experience do you have?”
I don’t know why this time was any different but the question threw me for a loop. I should have expected the query. I wanted to make a good impression, so thinking at lightening speed (which I don’t do well), off the top of my head, I told her,
“Well, I’ve given eulogies at a few funerals.”
She cocked her head to one side and said, Eulogies? Funerals? As if to ask if such things qualify a person to speak.
And they don’t… necessarily.
But God does. And He qualified me when he called me—to testify about Him.
Oh how I wish I could have corralled those words and shoved them back into my mouth never to let them out again! Eulogies, ugh! Really? What was I thinking? I would never expect to gain an audience from her referral.
But I did tell the truth. And they were good eulogies. A speaker has to start somewhere. I failed to mention to her the Bible studies that I taught or my drama experience from college and after.
You see “speaking” is any time you speak in front of people. Your competence grows every time you get the opportunity to use your voice in front of an audience be it a funeral, Bible study or a large gathering for a women’s luncheon.
So how do you secure the opportunity? Garner an audience?
Try implementing these four strategies.
1. Educate yourself. Learn how to craft messages by going to writing/speaking conferences, listening to podcasts on the subject, joining a local Toastmasters, going and listening to other speakers, hiring a coach. I highly recommend Amy Carroll, Next Step Speaker Services. And when people ask about your experience you can tell them the time you’ve put into your education.
2. Network. Volunteer. Get involved. Let your friends know what God has called you to do. The best advice I ever got was again from Amy Carroll who suggested I write all my contacts and ask them if they knew anyone looking for a speaker and would they possibly recommend me. I won’t lie, this was hard for me especially after the pastor’s wife eulogy debacle conversation and initially having a couple of friends look at me like I had three heads. But the bottom line is the people who know you will be the initial ones to recommend you. So get out there and mingle.
3.Don’t miss the opportunities when they come your way. Don’t be like the guy on the rooftop who prayed to God to save him from the rising flood waters. After he perished and went to heaven he asked God, “Why didn’t you help me?” And God said, “I did. I sent you a guy in boat, and one in a helicopter but you refused to go, waiting for something better.”
Walk through every open door God makes available be it teaching a small Bible study, or leading a prayer group. Even if it’s not exactly what you wanted to do. Experience is priceless and your name will get around when you do a good job. And one open will lead to yet another.
4. Pray. Don’t let up. If God called you He will make it happen. Pray for opportunities expectantly, fervently and wait patiently to see Him work.
Now get ready for God to do great things through you! Amen.