Doula Speaks Out, Doula Speaking Engagements

Doula Speaking Engagements

More doulas than I can count find themselves in a full panic at the idea of speaking publicly about the services they provide. So let’s tackle the elephant in the room! Doula Speaking Engagements.

Attuning to others, is one of the primary talents doulas possess.

We’re calm, steady, and confident when we work with our clients, and we’re genuinely interested in building relationships with them.

We seek to understand their point of view and how we can best compliment their birth and postpartum experience.

But, far too many people don’t know these things and in order to support more people and grow strong doula practices, we must tell them!

That’s where Doula Speaking Engagements come in!

Think of Doula Speaking Engagements as an opportunity to educate, inspire and grow, and you’ll always be inclined to say yes to requests for them.

The first thing you should do is…

Always say yes! Even if you’re terrified! And you probably will be. But that’s ok.

We’re always nervous when we do something that’s really important. Recognize that this is important for your entire community. The more people who know what doulas do and what their birth and parenting options are, the better.

Second, know your audience.

If you’ve been asked to make a special appearance get information from the host about who you’ll be talking to, and if there are any key take away points they’d like the audience to have. Spend some time thinking about your audience, the setting, and what you’ll be speaking about.

For instance, if you are speaking to medical providers, you’ll want to focus on what they can expect when referring to you. Scope of practice and standards of professionalism will matter most to them.

If it is a news segment, most are more conversational in style. Expect a relaxed conversation and realize that you will be reaching a mainstream audience who may be brand new to the word doula. Stick to the basics and set a goal of having the audience understand the service you provide.

Speaking as a panelist to a group of expectant parents will provide an opportunity to dig deeper. Q&A always offers the opportunity to dig a little deeper and people expect that. Be prepared!

No matter who your audience is, show them a bit of “doula” by attuning and making a personal connection that they can’t miss.

Third, gather your materials.

Consider any handouts and/or visual aids that will enhance what you’re speaking about. Find the best way to present these materials and think outside the box! Not every speaking opportunity will require a PowerPoint presentation.

Consider using some handouts as teasers to the information you’ll be presenting, or as a follow up to stay connected with your audience. Welcome Packets and marketing materials for your business are perfect additions to leave in their hands.

Once you’ve established the tone and style for your speaking engagement it’s time get comfortable with your topic and review your key points. You want to be familiar with the topic so the information flows freely. Practice and do a run through with the visual aids you’ll be using.

Pro Tip – Always make sure your presentation feels authentic and doesn’t come across as overly rehearsed.

Fourth, dress the part.

Check your closet and pick pieces from your wardrobe that help you feel confident and comfortable when you are preparing for Doula Speaking Engagements.

(Psst…this means all the way down to your undies, so dig to the back of the drawer and pull out the nice things).

On the day of the event, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get ready. If you’re feeling frazzled when getting ready, you’ll carry that with you, all the way to the microphone…

Fifth, show your expertise.

You’ve got this. Listen to some good music on the way to those Doula Speaking Engagements! Do a quick run through of the general flow in your head and remind yourself that you’re well prepared. When we’re not feeling self-conscious, we are our best selves. Let your personality and knowledge lead this gig.

Sometimes we have to trust that if someone invites us to speak, it’s because they see us as an expert. If you don’t believe it yourself yet, let their belief in you be the motivation it takes to slay your speaking engagement!

 

Practicing warm chatting and honing your networking skills will help you build your credibility as a business owner and prepare you for Doula Speaking Engagements. Running a successful doula business means that at some point you may be sought out to speak. Doing guest spotlights on your local news station, serving as an expert for a panel at a baby fair or speaking at the next OB luncheon might require you to step out of your comfort zone. Prepare yourself, and follow my 5 steps to help ease your nerves!

Katie Brenner is co-owner of Doulas of Cincinnati, and a ProDoula Labor and Postpartum & Infant Care Doula Trainer.