Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is Your Speaking Career Feeling Sickly?

If you’re a speaker, can you tell when your speeches are getting sick? By “sick,” I mean that your message is feeling flat, and you’re losing motivation for your presentations. Some speakers wait until it’s too late before they assess the health of their message. So, here’s a list of symptoms to help you discern if your speeches are losing vitality:

  • You rarely get repeat bookings.
  • You haven’t raised your speaking fees in the last 2 years.
  • You get less than 2 new bookings per month.
  • You’re calendar is rarely booked over a year out.
  • You struggle to get endorsements from leaders.
  • You haven’t developed a new speech in the last 12 months.
  • Deep down, you feel mad at God.
Ask yourself is you’re avoiding the reality that your career could be in the doldrums. As a professional, you owe it to your audience to keep your message alive and growing. Don’t wallow in excuses and negativity, such as:
  • It’s not my fault…the economy is bad.
  • Churches and businesses are cutting their speaker budgets.
  • I don’t need help…my message is fine.
Just because you’ve had speaker training doesn’t mean your work is over. You need to continually improve your speaking skills, or you’ll get stale – and your audience will notice. So, consider taking a refresher course, reading books on speaking, joining ToastMasters, or work with a professional speech coach.

Don’t judge the success of your speeches by superficial criteria, such as standing ovations or feedback from friends. Judge yourself by leader responses, booking dates, and your willingness to take on tougher speaking challenges.

If you’re not constantly growing, then you’re stagnant. And, society never stops changing. So, if your message stays idle, then you will get left behind by new styles, new speakers, or new audience formats. For instance, if you’re still relying on PowerPoint, then you're stuck in the dark ages. Modern speakers use powerful video clips, striking visual aids, and interaction to engage the audience.

As a side note: If you’re a Christian speaker, remember that the spread of the Gospel is at stake. You can’t afford to be flippant about your message. So, look yourself in the mirror and decide why you speak. Is it just for the money and attention? Or, is it to truly changes lives and point people to Jesus Christ?

Take this blog post as a friendly “wake-up call” to examine the health of your message. The desire to teach is a noble calling, and public speaking has the power to reach multitudes. But, your message can’t spread like wildfire if it’s become a dying ember.

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