With so many conferences available to writers and speakers, it can be confusing to know where to put your time, effort and money. But I believe if you have been called to speak, Leverage is absolutely the place to be. Here are 5 powerful reasons why . . .
- It’s intimate.
I have done the conference thing. I know what it’s like to be swarmed by (literally) thousands of others who are pursuing the same vision as me. I’ve sat in those tiny stadium seats watching a keynote speaker from the huge monitors hanging down from the ceiling — the actual speaker just the size of an ant. I know what it’s like to drink from the fire hose of instruction and then have no idea what to do with it; which is exactly why Leverage stood out heads above the rest.
As soon as I arrived, I felt known and seen. The smaller size of the conference coupled with a more intimate venue meant I couldn’t hide, even if I wanted to. The small groups for speaking offered comfort and security as we each took turns learning the craft of speaking, bringing our own strengths and vulnerabilities to the table. We learned to cheer each other on and offer valuable critiques. By the end of the three-day event, we felt connected.
I expected instruction, but what I left with was instruction plus an entire network of friends and supporters. All from within a very nurturing environment.
If you are looking to get lost in the crowd, I have to say Leverage isn’t for you. But if you are looking for a chance to connect and practice the art of speaking in the safety of a close-knit community, then Leverage is the place to be.
- It’s personalized.
As an intern with Leverage founder Kathi Lipp, I watched as the team put intention into every aspect of the conference. But that sneak peek still did not prepare me for the level of personalized help I (and every Leverage attendee) would receive.
If you’ve read through the itinerary, you know that each attendee gets placed into small groups paired with a mentor. Groups are based on the overall level of experience the attendees bring with them, so everyone is appropriately “matched.” Instead of feeling way ahead or way behind the others in your group — you feel like you’re all in the same boat. I found this was key to feeling safe to fail. Allowing us to take turns speaking in this context also meant we could hone our personal voice and craft. Rather than just learn how to speak or present, we learned how to speak in our own voice and present our own material.
If you want to be just a number, or a tiny ant in the conference swarm, Leverage probably isn’t the place for you. But if you are looking for real, personalized help in finding your voice and honing your unique message, Leverage is the place to be.
- It’s empowering.
I have often found that what causes me the most discomfort also causes the most growth. I attended Leverage as a very scared newbie. This was the largest sum of money I had put into my speaking and writing career (which is a very generous term for having a blog and wanting desperately to take it somewhere), and I feared I might come to the conference only to find out speaking wasn’t for me. I was uncomfortable — which was matched by a very steep level of growth.
As each session topped the next, I found my confidence growing. Not only in my ability to speak, but in my calling. Not only in my understanding of presentation, but in the business of speaking. Not only in the fact that each speaker knew what they were doing, but that I now knew what I was doing.
I’ve often left conferences a bit paralyzed by how to put the information into practice. This is absolutely not the case with Leverage. Instead of having a list of what “someone” might do to get started, I partnered with my mentor to create a personalized list of my own next step. And the step after that. And the step after that. This unique roadmap to my speaking career allowed me to get started right away. Even when I had to put plans on hold temporarily for family reasons, I was able to step right back in where I left off.
If you want just a whole lot of head knowledge about what generally works for speakers with absolutely no idea with what to do with that knowledge, then Leverage probably isn’t for you. But if you want to walk away with a personalized game plan for getting your speaking career on track, or taking that career to the next step, then Leverage is the place to be.
- It’s comprehensive.
Kathi and the team brought to the table things I didn’t even realize I needed. Yes, I came for instruction on how to successfully make a presentation, which I received. But I got so much more. How to create healthy boundaries in ministry. How to dress for my body and style. A chance to speak, then speak again, then speak again. A mentor I could turn to for coaching. A friend I would need for accountability. How to run a business. How to do the techy side of speaking.
And since the inaugural conference I attended, they’ve even added more. Literary agents, professional photographers for headshots, and graphic designers, just to name a few. Just when I thought there was no way they could make it better . . . they did.
If you are looking only to learn the craft of speaking, then another conference might be a better fit. But if you are looking for the whole shebang (and yes, I just used that word), then Leverage is the place to be.
- There’s just nothing else like it.
Other writing and speaking conferences have their place, for sure. But to be clear, there is just nothing else like Leverage on the market. To quote the movie Robots, Kathi “sees a need, fills a need.” She recognized the need for a speaking conference that treated individuals as individuals and offered the chance to practice the art of speaking, not just learning about it. Leverage provided comprehensive support in all areas of the business. She saw a need. And Leverage filled a need.
If you are looking for a plain-Jane, been-there-done-that conference, Leverage isn’t for you. But if you are looking for a one-of-a-kind, must-have conference, which is rapidly gaining the attention of publishers, agents, and booking agents, then Leverage is the place to be.
I am so thankful I took the plunge. Since attending, I’ve secured a literary agent, am working on my book, have significantly grown my platform — and yes, booked speaking gigs. If, like me, you’re ready to move to the next step, Leverage is your place to be.
Your turn — If you have attended Leverage before, what would you add? And if you’re still wondering if this conference is for you, comment below with any questions or concerns. We’d love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for my review of the Leverage conference. All opinions are fully my own.
Rachel Lewis is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. After a 5-year battle with secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, she now has three children in her arms and a foster son in her heart. She is passionate about supporting women through seasons of loss. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around, you can find her shopping at Trader Joes, drinking coffee, or writing about grief and healing at The Lewis Note. She is a regular contributor to Still Standing Magazine, Pregnancy After Loss Support, and The Mighty. Her work has been featured by the TODAY Show, FaithIt, Babble, and UpWorthy. You can get her free gift of 6 beautiful downloadable watercolor images to remind you to hope when life gets hard. Connect with Rachel on Facebook, or join her private Facebook group Brave Mamas — a support group for anyone who had to struggle to build their family.