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!

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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!

 

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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. :))

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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!

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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!

 

 

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Monday, April 4, 2016

A Word from My Clients 1

Recently I asked a few of my clients this year to tell you what it’s like to work with me. Christy Williams, the cutie patootie below, and I have worked extensively together this year. She was ready to launch her God-given dream of becoming a speaker, and she’s totally gone for it!


Click here to watch the video if it doesn’t appear in your email.

Now, before you get scared of me from what Christy said at the beginning, let me explain. She’s wired a lot like me. She’s a hard-working perfectionist who likes to get a gold star on the first try. Just like me!!

But here’s what my friend Karen Ehman always says about feedback, “You don’t go to the hairdresser and pay her to tell you that you’ve got great hair and do nothing. You pay your hairdresser to cut and fix your hair.” Coaching is just like that. I’m your paid truth-teller, but I promise to do it in a gentle and encouraging way. It might not always be fun to keep working, but I promise that the results will be fabulous.

The proof is in the pudding! Although you have the flexibility of just doing a single call with me, Christy has completed multiple services– Message Development, Website Development, Biosheet Development and Speaker Organization. Take a look at the fruit of all her hard work with me coaching and cheering alongside– ChristyWilliams.org 

To see a list of all the available coaching services click here. To sign up for a free consultation call, click here, fill out the form, and don’t forget to click the “send” button at the bottom. If you don’t hear from me within 48 business hours, please email me directly at amy@proverbs31.org. (Sometimes the forms don’t come through.)

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Reader Question 10

This is the last reader question for a while, but I’ve had a great time interacting in this way with you! We’ll do it again soon, so either send your questions as you think of them or store them up for next time. 🙂

I was wondering if you had recommendations for specific resources we could use when doing research for our messages.  For example, I love it when teachers share the original meanings of words but don’t feel like I have a reliable place to go and look that information up.  Are there any specific resources, commentaries, etc. that are reliable sources of biblical information?  ~Kate

 

Oh, Kate! You have hit one of the passions of my heart– resources! I’m a total resource junkie, so here are some places to try:

For FREE concordances (for word searches) and commentaries:

  • BibleGateway
  • CrossWalk
  • First 5 App— Proverbs 31 Ministries’ First 5 App has archives so that you can go back and read commentaries written on the books already covered. I am personally growing so much from this study tool!

For FREE word origins and definitions:

  • Blue Letter Bible (It requires a little searching, but this site has Greek and Hebrew lexicons, so you can type in a word to see the origins. Very cool!)

For the Bible study tool I use:

  • Anne Graham Lotz has a comprehensive page with lots of resources about how to use the 3-step Bible study tool I learned from her. It’s simple but profound, so if you’re looking for a way to deepen your personal study, make sure to look here!

If you have money to invest, I’d highly recommend Logos Bible study software which has been invaluable for me.

Alright, Speaker Girls! Here’s your chance! What’s your favorite Bible study tool, and where can we find it?

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