I’m a speaker, but there have been times when I wasn’t being asked to speak.
Before I launch into solutions, is it safe to tell you that I felt a little shame typing out that statement? After all, I’m part of a national ministry with a huge platform, and I’m a speaker coach. Most communicators would assume that my calendar is full, but recently I wasn’t being asked to speak at all. It was silent except for the crickets.
Have you ever experienced this kind of season?
If you have in the past or if you’re in a dry-spell now, I want to encourage you that you’re not alone and that one of two things might be happening.
God might be showing His grace.
Before I launch into ideas about how to solve “the problem” of an empty speaking calendar, let me first acknowledge that it might not be a problem. It might be God’s grace.
During the whirlwind year that I wrote, edited, launched and promoted my book, Breaking Up with Perfect, my coaching became almost non-existent. One day I expressed my concerns to my husband that my speaker coaching seemed to be “dying.” He responded with great wisdom and insight, “Really, Amy? When would you have time to coach anybody? I think this is God’s grace for you.”
He was right. When the book work slowed down, the coaching picked back up. I’m thankful that God knows us better than we know ourselves, and He always provides exactly what we need. We can trust Him with our speaking calendar just as much as we trust Him with other areas of our lives.
If your calendar is empty, consider that God knows what’s coming in your life and may know that you won’t be able to meet the expectations of a busier schedule. Or He may want you to pull away for a time of rest. Maybe He wants to do a work in you that He couldn’t accomplish if you were speaking. Lay your plans before God and ask Him, “Is my empty calendar a gift of Your grace?”
God might be waiting for me to take steps of obedience.
There have been times when I’m not speaking because of God’s grace, but there have also been times when I needed to do some work to get God’s message out. Sometimes when I lay my calendar before God, I feel led to take some proactive steps to build my speaking so that His Word can be heard.
Here’s a list for you to consider:
Create a new sample video
For years, I had a website with no speaking sample. I received a jolt when an event planner told me about her hunt for a speaker, and she exclaimed, “I’d never hire a speaker without seeing a video of her!”
That was a reality check for me. In communicating with event planners, our number one goal needs to be creating the trust required to have a microphone handed to us. We live in a video-driven world, so video is a powerful tool we can use to create trust.
I got busy right away working on a sample video, and you can click here to see a couple of speaking samples a talented friend produced for me.
Have some outsiders look in
The event planner who gave me the tip about a video is also a friend and a business coach. After hearing one piece of valuable feedback from her, I knew I needed more of her input.
I contracted with her to look at my website and to give me feedback from both a business and an event planner point of view. The to-do list she generated for me has been worth its weight in gold. I couldn’t evaluate my own website anymore, so an outsider was needed to give me invaluable insight into how others perceive the information there.
Contact event planners from my past events
Because I feel a deep connection to the event planners I’ve served, I truly love a chance to minister with them again. I’ve already built trust with them, so a couple of times a year, I send a ministry update. This email also gives me an opportunity to express a desire to return and to ask for referrals to other leaders. I make sure it’s a “warm ask” built on relationship and written with humility.
Now it’s your turn! What kinds of steps have you taken to fill your speaking calendar? We’d all love to learn from what’s worked as well for you.
Any comment that you leave will also enter you into a giveaway for a copy of Creating a Message that Connects, a message development eGuide bundle I’ve written for speakers.
Bio: Amy Carroll is a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s author of Breaking Up with Perfect and coach at Next Step Coaching Services. You can always find her trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner.
Thank you Amy! This is so timely. I was discouraged about my blank calendar, but took some action yesterday to work toward filling those dates for next year.
I knew I needed video clips on my website, but was hampered by the technology. I recently received 2 requests for them, so I knew I had to do something. And yesterday, I found out about WeVideo! I haven’t tried it yet, but from what I hear, it’s very user friendly and has many options to create professional looking clips.
Oh! I need to take a look at WeVideo too. It can be expensive to have samples produced, so a DIY option is welcome.
Amy, the “grace wait” perspective was really challenging. I sit here with an empty calendar at the moment, but a very full life, so that really resonated with me. As a former pastor, I spoke a lot at one time, and am looking to get back into that stream, so I’ve been doing a lot of networking, just getting word out, “Hey, if you need someone to fill in for a weekend, let me know. And if you know others who have that need, let them know I’m available on short notice.” Right now, I’m willing to take the “scraps that fall beneath the master’s table.”
I’m very challenged as well by the need for a video, and have been trying to scheme a way to get one made. It will happen, but I’d prefer sooner rather than later. At the very least, I need to get some audio up on the web site.
Thank you for your encouraging post!
Damon, I feel your pain about getting video. I think I asked for copies of videos from almost 10 events before I got usable footage. I’ve gotten in the habit about asking event planners every time if they plan to video. If they are doing it anyway, I always ask if I can have access so that I’ll have video for a future sample. So glad you the post encouraged you!
Amy, this is such valuable insight. And I am going to take this opportunity to give a shout out to YOU for being my coach and I would NEVER have seen some of the things in my website that needed to be revamped if it wasn’t for your valuable comments and genuine care and concern for my speaking ministry. I am scheduled for the video recording in a couple weeks and I still have a few more things from your suggestion list to implement. But you certainly were a God-send to me at just the right time. I, too get concerned when my calendar isn’t filled with speaking events but your husband was very wise. It’s at those times when God gives me a break in that calendar that I needed for my regular day job or for my writing or for just some plain ole rest. Thank you for your advice. I love ya!
Love you too, Deanna! I love the way you dive in to do the work, and it’s always a pleasure working with you.
Thank you for this timely post. I often question if something’s wrong with me or if I’ve done something wrong because the speaking doors are opening now. Now, I realize that God has given me this season to rest and focus on my overall well being. I’m grateful for His peace during this time.
So glad the post encouraged you, Pamela!
Thank you, Amy! Love the part about contacting precious event planners. Hadn’t considered that. You are a blessing.
Thanks, Lauren! It’s a blessing to get to be part of Communicator Academy. I’m happy to be here with you!
I love the idea of having an outsider look in, Amy. We can get so used to seeing what’s in front of us that we don’t see what’s missing or might need some tweaking. Thank you for encouraging words and the reminder of God’s grace in the waiting.
Yes, fresh eyes are so helpful. I hope you find just the right person to come alongside you, Crystal!
This is so helpful, Amy! I’m just now building and stepping into speaking and at times the task seems so daunting!
It really can feel overwhelming. I have to make a list, ask God to help me prioritize, and then just focus on one thing at a time. The old adage “Slow and steady wins the race” really is true!