After taking care of a long list of tasks for our household today, I reflected again on how crazy-busy women’s lives are. Because we live life on the fly, every added event has to be considered carefully, and most of us resort t0 the question “Will it be worth it?”
That’s the question that we want to answer for our audience. The answer starts with a topic description that focuses on the take-aways for our listeners. Folks don’t care near as much about what we have to “spout” as what they’ll receive. It’s sounds pretty self-focused, but I have to admit that I do it too. When I read a description for an event at my church, I’m evaluating if the event is offering something that fills gaps in my life.
One of the ways that I love to start adding value even before a retreat is to give attendees a Bible study for the week before. I use the scripture for the event and give a reading and some questions to answer for each day. The added bonus is that God starts speaking to hearts through His Word before I ever stand up to speak!
It’s also important to take the idea of giving your audience value into the event itself. When I list take-aways, or values statements, in my description, I consider those my promises to my audience. A fellow speaker told me that she recently attended a weekend retreat where the speaker spoke on different topics than promised in the topic description. Although my friend tried to learn what she could, she came home feeling gyped. She hadn’t been given what was promised (and she had been looking forward to the value described up front).
We can continue to bring value even after an event:
- Provide a “Suggested Reading” list for further study.
- Add some “Reflections” questions on your handout so that women can continue to process at home.
- Give a favor with your focal verse or your “sticky statement” (focal idea). Lots of times event coordinators love to work with you on the cost if you suggest it ahead of time.
- Have a resource table with books that expand on your topic and/or cds of your other messages that your audience can take home.
We should want our audiences to leave glad that they came, filled with the challenge of Truth and equipped for life transformation. Focusing on the value that we’re bringing to our audiences is a big step toward meeting that goal.