Monday, February 6, 2017

Answers to Your Questions: Promo Videos

Hi, gang! Before I answer another one of your questions, I want you to know some exciting news…

Registration is open for She Speaks!!!

If you’ve been to She Speaks before, would you do me a favor and leave a comment today? Tell us what She Speaks meant to you for those who haven’t attended before.

If you haven’t been before, click here to check out the beautiful 2017 site. Once you’ve checked it all out, I have one more thing to do. Pray Fast!! The conference fills quickly, and we had over 1000 women on the waiting list last year. I don’t want that to be you, so if this is your year, go ahead and register today. If you think this is your year, read the cancellation policy very carefully and then go ahead and register. Better to cancel than to miss out.

Now… on to the question for the week.

Is a small time video (not a big crowd) better than no video? ~Kimberli

Yes! Every speaker should see a sample video as an essential part of your speaking ministry. A savvy event planner friend of mine said, “I’d never hire a speaker without seeing a video first.”

Thankfully, in our digital world, it’s not difficult to have a sample video. Here’s some advice I’ve received mixed with what I’ve learned along the way:

  • Sample videos should be short. Contrary to what I originally thought, three to four minutes suffices.
  • You should use the best snippets from your message(s), highlighting your range and strengths. Show some funny and some serious. Some Bible teaching and some story-telling. Some loud and some quiet. You’re trying to give event planners a feel for who you are as a speaker.
  • Get the best video possible. Shoot for having something with a high resolution. If it’s shown on a large screen, you don’t want it to wash out.
  • Crowd shots are something your videographer can purchase and add. I wouldn’t ever be deceptive about the size of crowds you’ve spoken in front of, but in my case, the camera was only on stage.
  • Let your creative person create. Both of my sample videos were done by the pastor at my church who produces video for our church. The first time we worked together, I tried to micro-manage him, and the result was dismal. The success of the two videos I actually use on my website is due wholly to giving him what he asked for and letting him go. You might want to provide things like– extra photos, focal scripture, quotes from your blog posts or books, ideas for focus. I ended up loving mine because of the story my videographer told.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not “slick”. Have it produced at the level where you are. If you’re a new speaker, a less produced video is fine. If you’ve been speaking for years, you probably need to save a budget for something a little more.

Here’s the video I just had done. It’s not perfect :), but I tried to put all these principles into practice.

Here are some other sample videos that I think are well done:

Chrystal Evans Hurst (it’s embedded in her home page)

Lynn Cowell

Dale and Jena Forehand

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Answers to Your Questions: To Write or Rewrite a Message

 

Thank you, thank you to all of you who have participated in the Facebook Live session last week either in real-time or by watching the video after the fact! It was so much fun that I’m thinking I’ll start doing something a few times a year in the form of mini-breakouts. Any requests for topics you’d like me to cover?

If you missed the video, click here to watch the Q & A video and while you’re there, follow our Facebook page for more encouragement and resources!

One of the benefits of our time together is that you gave me enough questions to blog about for months. Some weeks I’ll tackle two with short answers, but most weeks I’ll answer one at a time. Feel free to add yours to the comments if one answer sparks another question for you.

Here we go…

Do I write a new series or tighten and update the seven retreat series I have?   ~ Sue

It’s possible that either option is the right answer to your question.

When I first started speaking, I felt I had to write a new message for every event, but I don’t do that anymore. There are good reasons for repeating messages:

  • Having 3-5 finely honed messages shows that you understand our ministry niche. Your niche determines whether you’re the right speaker for an event or not. None of us are qualified to speak on every topic an event planner might desire, so we shouldn’t say “yes” to just any topic that’s assigned.
  • Repeating messages allows us to rewrite and refine them. Just this weekend, I rewrote an ending to fit an event better, and I believe it made my overall message stronger. It made me more excited to deliver it.
  • I never just “dust off” a message and deliver it at the next event. I revisit that message prayerfully ahead of the event and ask God how it can be individualized for the women who will be attending. Having said that, having 3-5 messages developed allows us to improve our delivery as well over time.

Sometimes, however, I feel called to write something new for an event. I have one coming up in March for which I believe God is giving me a brand new message. I’m excited that God is using a lesson that He’s been teaching me to encourage other women!

Often, God will use “message fatigue” to show me that it’s time for something new. The first retreat that I ever led is still the topic I get asked to do the most. Last year I delivered it multiple times. While I still love the messages, I’m a little weary of delivering them, so I’ve de-emphasized them on my website and emphasized some others. I don’t want to delete it entirely, but I’m ready to move on to fresher pastures.

I hope this answers your question, Sue! How about you, Speaker Girls? How do you decide it’s time for a new message?

Note: We’ve got some changes in the works for the website, so hold on tight. We’re so excited!

This week, we’ve switched to a new email delivery service which may mean some glitches– possibly including the delivery of some past posts. That shouldn’t occur again, so please extend grace while we grow and improve for you. 🙂

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

17 Ways to Grow Your Speaking Ministry in 2017

 

2017 has begun! Do you feel the anticipation of a fresh start? Or the dread of feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities?

I loved Melanie’s post last week on choosing one resolution. I felt myself relax and sigh in relief at the weight of self-imposed expectations lifting off of me. I hope it gave you a sense of hope too.

One of the ways I have to approach growth and change is to make a pray-oritized (prioritizing under God’s direction) list, and I’d love to give you some ideas that you may want to put on your list this year as you seek to grow your speaking ministry. Having a list helps me to keep me from being overwhelmed as a work on one item at a time.

Speaking is a never-ending learning curve of always stretching to communicate in a clearer, more compelling way. No matter where you are in your speaking–a beginner or a seasoned veteran– you can take tangible steps to grow your speaking ministry. Here are my top seventeen tips for 2017:

  1. Spend a day (or as much time as you can carve out) in a quiet place with just your Bible and a journal. Worship, pray, and read God’s Word. Ask Him to speak to you about His agenda for you for the year. Write down what God shows you and ask Him to help you pray-oritize your steps. Read this blog post for more details about a retreat with Jesus.
  2. Pray before you speak, “Lord, help me to love You first and to love these women as you love them.” Watch your focus change and your nerves subside.
  3. Lay aside a percentage of each of your speaking fees for reinvestment back into your ministry.
  4. Purchase a book that will challenge you in your speaking and implement at least one new idea in your next message. My top two suggestions are Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
  5. Schedule time each week to work on your speaking ministry–studying, writing new messages or working on marketing tasks. Put it on your calendar and protect the time!
  6. Seek out someone who lives very differently than you as a friend. One of the ways God is expanding my horizons and teaching me new things is through some friends who do ministry in different arenas as well as two friends who live with significant handicaps. These friendships and the lessons we learn through them impact our messages significantly.
  7. Start saving your pennies and attend She Speaks. It’s a feast for your mind and soul! Registration will open early March. You can go the website today to sign up for an email alert when registration opens. Last year there were 1,000 women on the waiting list, so if this is your year, please, please register early so that you don’t miss out.
  8. Prayerfully set a goal for how many times you’ll speak this year. Be open to all kinds of venues for speaking (including making announcements, emceeing events, teaching Sunday school, etc), and speak as often as possible. Pray for chances to share God’s message and exercise your “speaking muscle”.
  9. Record yourself (smart phones make this super easy) and ask to be recorded each time you speak. Then, listen to yourself. I know it’s excruciating, but you’ll identify more needs for improvement by doing this than by any other single thing.  Video is even better (worse?). Watching yourself will alert you to areas that need work.
  10. Create an updated sample speaking video for your website this year. I went years and years without a video on my website until a friend of mine who is an event planner said, “I would never hire a speaker without seeing a sample video!” It should be short and contain your best moments. Click here and scroll down a little to watch the video produced for me last year. I’m in the midst of working on another one this year. It’s that important!!
  11. Subscribe to blogs that will give you information about being a better speaker and getting the word out about your ministry. We’d love for you to subscribe here for our free weekly speaker tips, of course!  We also have additional information posted on our Facebook page.   Also, I recommend Micheal Hyatt’s blog as well as signing up for Rob Eager’s Monday Morning Marketing Tips.
  12. Listen to great speakers and analyze the structure of their messages.  A few of my favorites are any of my Proverbs 31 sisters, Jennifer Dukes Lee (a former coaching client), Andy Stanley and Ravi Zacharias.
  13. Watch TED Talks to fill your mind with challenging ideas and the opportunity to listen to some fabulous speakers. Here are a few of my favorites: Reshma SaujaniDiana NyadBill GatesJane FondaAmy Cuddy, and my all-time favorite, genius TED Talk by Jane McGonigal.
  14. Choose 12 of Tracie’s marketing ideas, and implement one each month this year.
  15. Get out and live a bigger life. Take a day-trip. Ride your bike. Play with children. Cook international food. Break out of your rut, and do something different! Not only will it energize you, it will give you material for your messages.
  16. Listen to podcasts for communicators. Communicator Academy by Kathi Lipp and Michele Cushatt has shows on topics for both speakers and writers. I don’t miss an episode!
  17. And last but not least…use Next Step Speaker Services to help you individually with message development, editing your writing, message evaluation, developing marketing pieces. If you’d like to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION CALL click here

Melanie and I are here to be your cheerleaders for all of 2017! We’re in this growth process right along with you, so let’s take some next steps together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’re planning your speaking year! Which of these tips will you add to your pray-oritized t0-do list? How about copying this list and putting it into your own Word doc so that you can add, delete, and change the order according to your pray-orities?

Amy

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Openings, One-Sheets, and On a Mission

Happy Thursday, friends! I’m a little late with the post this week since I was in Charlotte celebrating the release of Lysa TerKeurst’s amazing new book Uninvited. I’m going to answer a couple of questions from readers, but make sure to read to the end for a little more info about the excitement of yesterday and directions to a GIVEAWAY.

Question #1: Do you always begin your opening with a personal story?  I know they are extremely effective, but since I am doing 3 different messages for the same group, would opening with a story become too redundant and predictable? 

I usually do open with a story, but rules are made to be broken. 🙂 When I listen to Lysa TerKeurst, who is an incredibly effective speaker in every way, I always laugh because she breaks all the “rules” I put on myself. What I mean is that she doesn’t use a formula, but nobody would argue with the power of her messages.

Following Lysa’s example, I’m trying to become my creative which means that I can’t follow Andy Stanley’s message outline every single time! (You know I love his book Communicating for a Change but still.) Here are my thoughts about messages at a retreat… I would definitely start the first message with a story. That will allow the audience to connect with you right off the bat, but feel free to change things up in the following messages.

Try it and tell us how it goes. I’m cheering for you!

Question #2: I am wondering, as I am mentally planning to come to She Speaks 2017 with a Book Proposal…..  Do Authors proposing books need a One Page for their Publisher Appointments?

I’m truly impressed that you’re planning ahead to summer 2017! Working ahead like this will keep the pre-conference stress level low and position you for your best publisher appointments.

Yes, I’d create both a one sheet and a book proposal. The one sheet  will give you a concise summary of your proposal to give an editor in the appointment, and then you’ll have the complete proposal to send digitally if they ask for it. I’m not positive about this, but from what I’ve heard, most agents and editors aren’t taking full copies of proposals at the conference because of shipping, etc. Double check that advice when you register, though.

An important piece of advice about She Speaks: Registration for She Speaks 2016 was full a month from the time registration opened. It was a record! We also had over 1000 women on the waiting list at the time of the conference. If you are planning to go to 2017, you’ll need to register early. It usually opens late Feb or early March, but you can also usually enter your email on the site in January to get a notification of when registration opens. I hope to see YOU there next year!

Finally, it’s an exciting, exciting week!

Yesterday, Lysa’s new book Uninvited launched which I’m jazzed about for two reasons. First, it’s a truly tranformative book, and Lysa has leveraged her most vulnerable writing for the most powerful change in us. You’ve got to get a copy.

The second reason I’m so excited about the book is that Lysa is giving every cent of the profits to the work of non-profits, including Mission India. Our P31 International Initiatives team and I went with Mission India in April to see the work they do through literacy classes, and Lysa is sponsoring ten of these life-changing classes.

Uninvited: Mission India from Proverbs 31 Ministries on Vimeo.

Here are a couple more things to check out as you leave:

Click here to go to my personal blog to enter for a GIVEAWAY of Uninvited.

Click here to watch a video about Mission India’s literacy classes.

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