How to Book the Gigs You Really Want
By Heather Boersma
My very first speaking engagement happened in the winter of 2005. It was an event for women aged 20-30 called Freedom and Beauty and about 50 women were in attendance. Booking this event was pretty easy, because I was also the event organizer, and the event host. I knew God had put a message on my heart to speak so instead of waiting around for someone to ask, I planned my own event, hosted it at my home church, invited all the young women I knew. Then I asked myself to speak. I made zero dollars and loved every single minute of it. That night confirmed this was what I was created to do: share the truth of God’s word with anyone who would listen.
Even though I didn’t get asked to speak and I didn’t make a dime, that first event was really what launched my speaking ministry, because through it I booked my next 100 events! A friend of mine heard about the event, and told her friend, who was just starting a ministry for teen girls called Beautiful Unique Girl. She called me and asked if I wanted to speak on a tour across Canada. I was totally floored and of course, said yes!
Hidden within this little snippet of my story, are THREE of my top tips to help you book the speaking events you really want.
Let God Be Your Booking Agent
Soon after I began speaking, I met with a pastor who did a lot of itinerant ministry and asked him for advice on booking events. He said, “Heather, let God be your booking agent.” Over the last ten years I have heeded this advice, and at times ignored it completely. I can tell you quite honestly that all of my “best” events have been ones that were truly orchestrated by God, like that first tour with Beautiful Unique Girl. Yes, the woman who started it heard about me through the event I created, but I never would have connected with her on my own. So when you start to feel like you’re pulling opportunities toward yourself (striving) instead of being pulled into them (obeying), take a step back and ask God to be your booking agent.
Be Faithful With What’s in Your Hands
Even though I truly believe God will work all things together for your good, including bringing you the best speaking opportunities you could ever imagine, you still need to be faithful. Start with what and who you already know. Do you have friends in leadership at local churches? Call them up (not email or facebook message) and ask if they need a speaker for their next event. Do you have access to a great space and an idea for a fun event? Call up a few like-minded women and plan it, and volunteer to share what’s on your heart. Look at the areas of your life where God has already given you influence (church, work, social media, your family, etc.) and start using your gift in those areas. So often we avoid doing the thing we really feel called to do because we’re afraid we might fail. But God is watching what you’re doing with your gifts today, to see if you’re ready for the opportunity He has for you tomorrow.
Get People Talking
Word of mouth is by far the best way to get more and better bookings. In order to maximize this opportunity, here are a few things you can do:
- If you don’t already have one, create a website and start a newsletter! Any time you are recommended by someone to speak, people are going to check you out online.
- After an event, ask the organizer to write or record a short testimonial and post it on your website or include it in your newsletter.
- Use social media with purpose. Instead of just posting pics of what you ate for dinner last night and how cute your kids are, post on the topics you’re most passionate speaking about. Social media keeps you at the top of people’s mind so when they do need a speaker, and they just saw your inspiring Instagram post yesterday, they’ll think of you.
- Ask your friends and family to recommend you to their churches and organizations they are connected with. Then follow up with those recommendations with a phone call.
- Go above and beyond. When you are booked for an event, send a contract, include ideas for worship songs they could use, and resource lists they can provide participants. Mail a handwritten thank you card and leave the organizers feeling like you were really partnering with what God has called them to do.
People may not remember a thing you say, but they will remember how you made them feel. So make people feel important, loved, and valued and they will be sure to pass your name on to everyone they know.
There are SO many more tips I could give you, but the most important thing I’ve learned over the last nine years of speaking is that God is the one who opens doors. We can walk up to them and knock, and I believe we should, but we can’t force them open, nor should we. If He is the one who has gifted and called you to speak, then trust that He will open the right doors and equip you will all you need to walk through them, in His perfect timing.
If you have any other questions, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, check out my website www.heatherboersma.com and follow me on Instagram @heatherboersma. I’d love to connect with you!
About this Contributor:
Heather Boersma is a speaker, author, and big dreamer who loves to adventure with her husband Alex and their three kids, Cohen, Claire, and Byron. She has been speaking to teen girls and women for the past twelve years in Canada and the United States. She is the author of two inspiring books for teens, Dream Big and Letters from a Big Sister.