Monday, June 27, 2016

How NOT to Drive an Event Planner Crazy

To get ready for my breakout session at She Speaks this year, I’ve been asking speaker friends like you to share your creative ideas for adding value to your events. It’s been great to get your feedback!

Last week I suddenly realized that I hadn’t tapped an important group for the information I was seeking–the event planners themselves. I figured it would be valuable to hear what had been important to them instead of just shooting in the dark for what might be important to them.

Duh! The responses I got were so enlightening!

In reading the lists they sent me, though, I realized that I’ve probably been one of the speakers that tends to drive event planners around the bend. I’ve never meant to be the vehicle to crazy-ville, but I probably have been. I realized that I do really well on some points but that in my heart’s desire to avoid being the diva speaker, I actually haven’t given them enough information.

Here’s an example…

When I arrived to one particular event, I realized that I needed a couple of things. I needed the wireless internet passcode, and I really needed the stage rearranged. It was set up with one of those humungous podiums in the middle and musician’s equipment close to it on both sides.

What to do?

I had to ask for the passcode since I needed it for the book table, so the event planner scrambled around asking about a dozen people before she found it.

By that time, I felt so bad that I didn’t want to bother her with the stage layout, so I didn’t mention it. That seemed like the right thing to do until an attendee afterwards said, “I felt so sorry for you up there. You looked so STUCK!” Oh, dear. I thought I hid it well and compensated, but the truth was that I felt so stuck!! I like to move around and hate to stand behind a podium, so I had been completely miserable while I delivered my message. Evidently, it showed. 🙁

One of the event planners listed both of those things as details she wants to know ahead of time, so I’ve developed a new tool to share with you. Click on the image below to see my new “Details for Amy” doc.

Details for Amy

I don’t want to lead with my “list of demands”, so I’ll send this as a follow-up to event planners after we’ve talked personally. I want to first load her up with my heart for service and warm-fuzzies so that she understands this is to be a help and to make the day of the event as smooth as possible. (You’ll also notice that I worked to make it look cute, warm and a little fun. Graphic design is a beautiful communicator.)

Feel free to make your own version of this doc if you think it would be helpful to you!

________________________________________________________________________________

This will be my last blog post until August. July is crazy-busy with She Speaks prep, so it’s a non-blogging month.

Would you help me to a make a decision by giving your honest feedback? I’m thinking about taking my “Added Value:Giving Your Events More Than Just Enough” as a webinar in the fall. Would that be a topic that would interest you? Would you be willing to make a small investment in your ministry to be part of it? Be honest–I promise you won’t hurt my feelings!

Leave a comment here | 8 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Wednesday, June 22, 2016

If You Like to Speak WAY Better Than You Like to Write

 

I don’t want to be a whiner, because I know that I have amazing opportunities to write. To be honest, though, I like speaking so much more than I like writing. Writing is hard, hard work for me, and sometimes I just don’t want to do it.

Imagine the delight I’ve been experiencing in two new mediums: podcasting and Facebook Live!

If you’re in the boat with me on writing, you’ve GOT to try these mediums! They are ideally suited for speakers and both are up-and-coming ways to communicate.

I started the day by listening to a recording of Chrystal Evans Hurst from She Speaks 2015. Her session was on podcasting, and she gave fabulous advice. Chrystal predicts that podcasts will grow in popularity because of the mobility factor on smart phones and because people can choose exactly what they want to listen to.

About six weeks ago, my friend Cheri Gregory approached me about being her co-host on a new podcast. Can I just tell you that we’re having a blast, and it’s my favorite thing I’ve done in a long, long time. I’m energized to the point of super-charged! If you want to listen to one of our first episodes with the fabulous Kathi Lipp, I’ve included the hyperlink below.

Today, completely on a whim (re: I’ve chickened out hundreds of times, and I decided if I posted that I was about to try it, I would have to close my eyes and leap!), I did my first video on Facebook Live. I had already decided that I didn’t want to write a blog post on my personal blog today, so I was going to video a vlog on my iPhone, upload it to Youtube, and embed it.

Instead, I did the video on FB Live, and it was fantastic fun even though it’s wildly imperfect! I hope I get better as I go along, but there are some definite instantaneous rewards for a speaker girl:

  • It’s fast and easy.
  • I can’t agonize over and and try to edit all my flaws out. Water under the bridge, baby!
  • I LOVE interacting with the people watching. I’ll have to learn to do that better, but I’m such a relational girl that I can already tell FB Live is going to become one of my favorites.
  • Seriously, FB Live unlocks Facebook! I have been incredibly frustrated at how little coverage my posts on my ministry page get. When I heard that video is loved by the FB algorithms, I figured their version of video would fly the farthest. I was right! That post has already gotten more views than anything else I haven’t paid for, and it’s been less than 2 hours since I did it. Awesome sauce!
  • You can embed your video in your blog and let it do double duty.

So there you go. I’m not the one to help you with all the steps to implementation, but there are lots of free tutorials out there to help you. I especially love the tutorial videos on Youtube.

If you’re curious, click here for the podcast and click here to watch the video (or watch below).

Leave a comment here | 5 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tips for She Speaks 2016

It’s only 5 weeks until She Speaks!!! Even though I know you’re not all going this year, I’d love to whet your whistle for going at some point and to encourage those of you who are going.

Years ago, I wrote a series of tips on She Speaks that tap into my first experience as an attendee. You can read the series by clicking on each link below:

Tip 1

Tip 2

Tip 3

Tip 4

Tip 5

Tip 6

Do you have any questions about She Speaks either as a 2016 attendee or a possible future attendee? I’d love to answer them in the comments!

_______________________________________________________________________________

BTW: My friend Cheri Gregory and I have started a new podcast. We’re so excited, and we’d love for you to check it out by clicking here!

Leave a comment here | 4 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What To Do After an Event

 

Just on time! I was wondering about what to write to you this week, and my client Rachel sent me a great question.

How do I manage after I’ve spoken when I’m no longer running on adrenaline – when I get home and I’m replaying the event in my mind and how I did. It’s difficult.

Have you run into this too? I had asked Rachel to tell me about how her event went, so she started to evaluate… and maybe veered into picking herself apart. I’ve sure driven myself into the emotional ditch after an event!

Before the event, we study, prepare, write, and practice, but how do we deal with our thoughts post-event? I’ve learned to do two things in a specific order.

Celebrate what God did through you.

For about a day or two, I won’t allow myself to critique my message. I just bask in and celebrate God’s work at the event. I offer the flowers of positive comments to Him as a bouquet, praise Him for the results women shared, and rest in my delivery.

Ten Boom quote

I’ve learned that right after the event I’m too tender and too tired to do the work of critique without getting discouraged.

Critique your message. 

Celebrate and don’t negate the work of God, but assessment is important work too. This is easiest to do if you have an audio recording or video of your message. I ask for on every time I speak. Sometimes it’s not available–and that’s ok– but if it is, I ask for a copy. If you don’t have a recording, you can go through your message and think about the event.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you listen or think through:

  • Did the audience respond the way I thought they would in each section?
  • Was I holding their attention in each section?
  • Which sections felt too slow or “clunky”?
  • What felt unnatural to me as I presented?
  • Do I hear any vocal crutches– um, uh, and others?
  • Did I use my voice to its greatest potential with variation in volume, pitch and rate?
  • Did I employ pregnant pauses around powerful points in order to let the audience ponder a second?

If you’re watching video, you can also asses your physical presentation. You need to make sure to do that sooner than later even though it’s excruciating!

Usually, if I allow time to celebrate before I critique, I can be more dispassionate about it instead of feeling crushed by my inner critic. Self-evaluation is an extremely important tool to learn and grow as a speaker, but we don’t want to be our own worst enemies, and we certainly don’t want to forget the work God undeniably is doing through us!

 

Leave a comment here | 4 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Monday, May 23, 2016

Boasting in You

 

My mama taught me that it isn’t nice to brag, and I’ll bet yours did too.

But it turns out that our mamas weren’t quite right. The Bible actually endorses bragging as long as it’s bragging (or the word is actually boasting) in the right person. Here’s how Paul says it to the Corinthians:

“We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory.  But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”  (II Corinthians 10:14-17)

Paul uses the word “boast” over and over again in his letters to the Corinthians, and when I was teaching on this passage in a session from my Breaking Up with Perfect retreat, I took a look at the definition of the root word. In scripture, the word boast could also be translated as “rejoicing in” or “glorying in.”

Our Proverbs 31 speaker team had a call last week, and Lynn Cowell began to encourage us to boast more– to boast in what we are seeing the Lord do as we go and speak.

I find it hard to break that old habit of not boasting at all, but I think Lynn’s right. When we boast in Jesus’ work instead of our own, it’s something entirely different. It’s rejoicing in Him. It’s giving Him the glory. Boasting encourages the people around us. It reaffirms the continuing work of God. It gives people hope that if God works in that situation, He can work in theirs too.

Listen to how my friend Sharon Glasgow did it on her Facebook page:

“Our 87 year old ‘Farmer’ neighbor fell off his tractor, it rolled over his chest, crushing bones and causing internal damage. He laid on the ground for 4 hours and couldn’t move. When help found him, they said his cows surrounded him in a circle! We asked the neighbor telling us the story what they were doing, he said, ‘Praying!, The Farmer came to a wedding in our barn this past weekend. Yep! He’s alive, well and still farming! God’s got more work for him here!” ~Sharon Glasgow

Sharon is always overflowing with stories of God’s power, and I often read her bragging on Him on Facebook by telling what she has seen Him do at her speaking events.

I want to begin this practice of bragging on Jesus! So here I go:

Last weekend I spoke at Highland Baptist Church in New London, NC. To tell you the truth, even though the women were warm and complimentary as they left, I wasn’t sure if my message had made much of an impact. I collected all my things,including the cards on which they had written a break up letter to Perfect, and left. The next day, I fished the break up letters out of my bag and began to read. Tears filled my eyes when I realized that Jesus had truly set women free. They declared freedom from:

  • Worry
  • Being in control of everything
  • Fixing everyone
  • Loneliness
  • Being judgmental, critical, and complaining
  • The insecurity of caring what others think of them more than what God thinks
  • Trying to be what they’re not
  • Feeling unworthy and not good enough
  • Working to do everything right
  • Trying to make everyone like them
  • Playing games
  • Worrying about not measuring up or having all the answers
  • Competing with others
  • Shame and feeling inferior
  • Being embarrassed by their physical appearance
  • Fear of not meeting expectations
  • Trying to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect friend and keep a perfectly clean home
  • Feeling shame over past sin
  • Jealousy and distrust
  • Feeling responsibility for a loved one’s betrayal
  • Handling all the problems for their children
  • Holding on to hate

Whew! Y’all!!! Jesus was doing tremendous work behind those beautiful, smiling faces, and I wouldn’t have know if they hadn’t been so honest in their break up letters.

So I’m bragging on Him. He is good, and He is at work. How about you? Would you brag on Jesus here? How have you seen Him at work lately?

Leave a comment here | 2 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Key Ingredient for a Growing Speaking Ministry

 

This week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by a former Next Step client and forever friend, Christy Mobley. I’ll share the whole interview (and a great new resource) when it’s available, but she asked me a question that still has me reflecting.

“Amy,” Christy asked, “what was the best piece of advice that you got as a new speaker?”

I didn’t even hesitate in my answer. Not only is it the best piece of advice I personally received, but it’s advice I pass on to other speakers all the time. Here it is.

Strong Messages

Don’t get me wrong. In this world of warring messages, marketing matters, but nothing counts as much as a strong message.

When I first joined the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, I had no marketing materials. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. No website. No biosheet. Not even a business card. So you can imagine how I felt when I measured my ministry against the other amazing women on the team and all their bright, shiny marketing materials. I panicked!

When I started into high gear to produce the materials that I thought were essential to growing my speaking ministry, Renee Swope, who was then overseeing our team, intervened. She said, “Amy, your main focus should be on learning to create strong messages. If your messages don’t live up to your marketing, you will have missed the expectations of the event planners. Unfortunately, word of mouth works both ways–both positive and negative– so you want to exceed expectations, not fall short.”

Best. Advice. Ever.

How do you feel about your messages? Do you feel confident about your message development and delivery?

Here’s what I’ve decided for myself. Learning to develop strong messages that connect with the heart of my audiences is a life-long endeavor. It’s not that I just want to be perceived as polished and professional. The deepest desire of my heart is to communicate the Gospel in the most effective way possible. Because we live in an ever-changing culture, the learning curve to communicate a never-changing Truth is unending. I’m always working to create stronger messages!

Here are a few ways that I challenge myself to stay a learner instead of considering myself an expert:

  • Read books on communication. It’s truly a craft to study, so I love to be challenged and grow. A few of my all-time favorites that I use as constant references are Communicating for a Change (on sale right now in the P31 bookstore!) , Made to Stick, and Resonate.
  • Attend conferences. She Speaks is full this year, but why not start saving your pennies for next year? I love it more than my birthday, and that’s a mouthful for a girl who’s a narcissist one day a year!
  • Listen and listen and listen to other speakers. Make yourself a sponge when it comes to assessing another speaker. What do they do really well? What missed the mark? How do they keep their audience engaged? Where did they lose you? Since it’s important to be able to turn off this critique and just be a learner at times, TED Talks are a better time to do this than in your church on Sundays! 🙂

How are you learning to create stronger messages? I’d love to pick up some tips from you!

Note: Did you know that you can share the graphics from my posts in your social networks just by being on the website, passing your cursor over it, and clicking on your favorite network’s icon? Give it a try! If you’re a subscriber receiving this post in your email, just click on the title of the post in your email to go to the site. You can also get these graphics and other speaker goodies by joining Next Step on Facebook and Twitter. I’d be thrilled to see our Speaker Girl community sharing it up each week!

Leave a comment here | 4 Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Gift of a Voice

 

I’m home! I’m home! Or at least my body is here, but part of my heart permanently resides in INDIA. Yes, many of you guessed correctly. Kathy Scott is the winner from Facebook, and Aimee Kidd is the winner from Instagram. Congratulations to the winners of a beautiful silk scarf!

My brain is pretty mushy from all the travel, so today is going to be short and sweet. I can’t miss the opportunity to remind you, though… As American women, we’re blessed to have a voice. Respect. Standing in our communities. Rights. For most women in other parts of the world, that’s not their reality.

I had the chance to visit Mission India literacy projects last week, and I can confidently tell you that they’re changing the world for myriads of women. Becoming literate is restoring their voice. As Kamala, the founder and developer of these programs said, “First they gain self-esteem. Then they gain confidence. Finally, they gain self-respect.”

Those are the essential keys to a woman’s voice– knowing who she is as God’s creation. Standing in the value that’s embedded in her.

2016-04-25 17.33.54The women in the picture are gaining the voice we so often take for granted. (And check out the little boy in the front! That kid is going places!!) I’m so proud of their leaders, their teachers, and the women themselves for the hard work it’s taking to create change– a change that will be passed on to the next generation in the picture.

You might be wondering how you can be part of a woman in India gaining a voice. And I’m DYING to tell you! Hang in there until August when Proverbs 31 Ministries will give you opportunities to make an impact half way around the world right from your hometown.

Leave a comment here | No Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Where in the World is Amy Carroll?

If you want to know… click here to go like my Facebook page and make a guess. It’s a little mystery with a prize attached! (Make sure to find the update with the picture clues. :))

Leave a comment here | No Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Monday, April 18, 2016

Encouraging Budding Speakers

 

-Our talents are the giftthat God gives to us... What wemake out of our talents is our gift back to God-

I remember that life-changing moment like it was yesterday. Stopping in the middle of the hall, Charlene leaned over to me and said, “It won’t surprise me if you’re serving on this team with me one day.”

“What?!” my brain screamed. I had shown up for She Speaks twelve years ago literally sick and tired. After listening to Satan’s whispers of “Who do you think you are?” and “They’re going to set you straight. You know you aren’t a speaker!” for weeks on end with no resistance, I couldn’t sleep the whole week before the conference, and my stomach (and all associated) was a mess. Even after experiencing the extreme kindness and nurturing of the Proverbs 31 team, I hadn’t waged the necessary spiritual warfare, so I was a beaten-up, feeling-like-nothing girl.

Charlene took a few steps away before I caught her and asked in a near whisper, “Do you say that to everybody?” She laughed and said, “No. You have a gift.”

Can I tell you what that did to my heart? Instant healing. Someone with a gift herself had taken time to encourage the gift in me, and suddenly I didn’t feel like nothing any more. I saw a shaft of God’s light and promise. Maybe this calling I had been feeling was real after all.

Because another speaker’s encouragement literally changed the course of my life, I delight in doing the same for others whenever I can. Last week I got to do it for someone unexpected. Someone who really needed another woman to see her gift and affirm it.

I love doing all kinds of events, but last week I got to participate in two fund-raisers for organizations I esteem highly–Transforming Hope Ministries, a ministry that battles human trafficking right here in Wake Co., and Family Promise, a national organization that helps families out of homelessness. It’s always a privilege to come alongside of worthy non-profits as they communicate their mission.

At the Family Promise event, there were several speakers before me. One was the Exec. Director of the county program, who herself was part of the program years ago, and another was a recent graduate. Brittany, who is only is only six months out of homelessness, stood to speak to a crowd for the very first time, and she was dazzling. Truly. She spoke as if she had spoken professionally for years instead of trying to be invisible in her homelessness for years. She spoke as if she as was a confident, experienced speaker instead of how she said she felt for most of her life– “like a piece of trash.”

I had to follow her. Yep. It went well, but the truth was that we could have all gone home after Brittany spoke. She killed it.

Immediately after the end of the program, Brittany was surrounded by women praising her for articulating so clearly and with so much vulnerability how it felt to come out of homelessness. I stood in that line! It was a joy to tell her that she has a gift.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from Brittany asking me how to pursue her new passion for speaking, and I was delighted to share about this blog/Speaker Girl Community and also this link on my personal website with ideas about growing a speaking ministry.

I hope you’re not only encouraged here every week but also that you spread the encouragement around. There’s somebody that needs to hear from you that they have a gift. Maybe it’s a woman who has been down and out in some way, or maybe it’s a woman who is sick and tired. Either way, keep your eyes open and encourage!

Leave a comment here | No Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Word from My Clients 2

This week I’d like to introduce you to Erika Opperman. Erika was a pleasure to work with, and I love that God is opening doors for her to speak to college girls. (Once you watch the video, you’ll know exactly why those girls want to hear from her!)


Click here if the video doesn’t appear.

After watching the videos of Christy and Erika, can you tell why I love my job? I work with the most awesome women! You can bet that watching Erika’s video made my day, and I promise I didn’t pay her.

One of the elements that Erika included in the message we worked on together is technology. She gave an application at the end of her message that included a response with their cell phone. Genius! That girl knows her audience!

If you’d like to work together to develop your own unique message, I’d love to work with you. Please fill out the Request Information Form, and I’ll get in touch with you to schedule a free consultation call. I look forward to hearing about what God is doing in your ministry and answering any of your questions!

 

 

Leave a comment here | No Comments
Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Google Bookmarks