Monday, August 08, 2011

Keep Your Message Fresh

In a few days, I'm headed to Philadelphia for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I look forward to the opportunity to see old friends but more importantly to give back to other writers and help them achieve their publishing dreams. My schedule worked out to be a bit complex this year since I return home on Saturday night, then leave late Sunday morning for the Oregon Christian Writers Summer program. I'm excited about both of these conferences. At each location, I am teaching different workshops.

When I teach, I prefer to use paper handouts rather than Power Points or something else. In my view, simple is better in this case and less likely to cause trouble. I've been in workshops where the instructor apologizes for his crashed computer or spends the hour fooling around with some gizmo instead of teaching his content. I'd rather cram as much information into my time as possible to give the greatest value.

I spent a number of hours this weekend pouring through my handouts for my workshops. While I may have taught this information before, I do not want to pull out my old notes and simply give the same old tired information. It's not how I keep the information fresh.

Each day I'm learning new methods to improve my own writing and I want to pass that information on to others. I added lots of new information and new resources to each of my handouts.

It's normal for a conference to restrict the number of handouts that they allow per workshop. I understand because they are trying to limit their expenses. I've found an easy way around that limitation. After I revise my handout, I create a PDF, then put that handout online. Each handout includes a link at the bottom of the first page to where the resource is located. As a part of my workshop, I call this detail to their attention and encourage people to go home, pull up the handout and track each of the online resources for additional teaching beyond the workshop.

I hope the participants make good use of this added resource. If I was sitting in the audience, I certainly would make a point to follow through when I returned. In fact, I've done it a number of times from conference instructors.

Because the workshops are recorded, occasionally I receive emails from people who are listening to my teaching from several years earlier. For those listeners, I want them to get the greatest value from these workshops.

If you would like to attend one of my forthcoming conferences, you can keep an eye on this link. On this page, I maintain the latest information about where I will be teaching.

I've given you some ideas about how I work on keeping my message fresh when I teach. It also applies to my writing. How are you keeping it fresh? Are you writing about the same old stuff or are you still breaking new ground? If you are stalled in one area of the market, I encourage you to look for new opportunities. They are all around you if you are looking for them. You can plow new ground for your writing but you have to be active and take the first step.

I've got a number of new projects in the works for the coming days so stay tuned. I'm keeping my message fresh and challenge you to do the same.

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