Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And the Winner Is…

Before I announce the winner, I want to THANK ALL OF YOU who subscribed and took time to fill out the survey.  It’s such a pleasure to share this blog with you, and the information from the survey will be invaluable as Next Step Speaker Services moves forward and grows.  Ya’ll gave me enough suggestions for blog topics for years to come!!

I’m also thrilled that we have enough clients that we now have a little waiting list!  For those of you who have been our firsts, we’re so thankful that you’re with us.  We can’t wait to get to know more of you personally.

And now…drum roll please…our winner of a free service of your choosing is…. Kelli Womack from Sept. 20 at 10:48!  Kelli please go to the “Request Information” page and fill out all the contact information so that we can have our first phone conversation.  I can’t wait to hear your story of why God has provided this especially for YOU!

Our next principle from Made to Stick is credible.  The Heath brothers go into fascinating detail about what makes an idea credible, but I want to focus on one main way for Christian women to make our messages credible.  I think authenticity and using personal stories make our messages credible.

I’ll use myself as an example this time.  For years I didn’t share my testimony as part of my messages.  I have what I jokingly call “My Boring Testimony”.  Like some of you, I was a girl who was born into a Christian family,  raised in the church and gave my heart to Jesus early in life.  Because of His grace, I was saved from many of the visible pitfalls of living separated from God.  So I didn’t tell my story.  I didn’t tell it, because it didn’t seem dramatic enough.  I also didn’t tell it, because I really do know that I’m not one iota different from anyone else who needs a Savior.  That encompasses everybody, but I didn’t want to hurt my sisters in the room who have very different stories or make them feel that I did think I was better.

So I stayed silent on that issue (while talking about most others!) until God lit a fire under me to tell my story and surrounded me with people who kept telling me why it is important.  That’s a different post for a different day, but I want touse  my story to say that each of us has an important story.  Each story has value and we become credible when we tell our own.

It’s fine to use stories from the internet or from a book you read, but there is no story that will give your message credibility like your own.  So I’m telling mine in a new message called The Untying of a Straight-Laced Girl.  How about you?  What’s your story to tell?

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Making Your Messages Stick Part 3

THANK YOU to all of you who have subscribed to these posts and completed the survey.  I am technologically challenged, but even a cave man :) could do Survey Monkey (Try it for free on your blog.  It’s really fun!)  Your suggestions for future posts will keep us busy for years, and I hope it means that we’ll be providing valuable content for a long time.

If you haven’t entered our contest for a FREE SERVICE, then make sure to go back to this post to read all about it and enter.  Also, we still have a few slots for 25% off for our first 10 clients.

On to Chip and Dan Heath’s next principle for making ideas stick…drum roll please…. CONCRETE.

Like every good book, Made to Stick has a villain.  The villain is The Curse of Knowledge.  Everyone who knows a subject well is subject to The Curse of Knowledge.  I remember my sweet daddy trying to help me with my math homework, but try as he might, he just couldn’t help me.  He knew too much beyond what I knew, and he couldn’t explain it to me without using all that extra knowledge which just left me more in the dark.  His Curse of Knowlege kept him from explaining long division to me in a simple way that I could understand.

I think Christians are especially vulnerable to this trap.  We speak in churchy language with biblical referrances that much of our culture misses when we could say the same things in very understandable ways.

Making our messages concretemeans that we move beyond Christian-eze and abstractions to express ourselves in concrete language.  Personal, relatable stories are one powerful way to make our messages concrete.  We’ll talk a lot more about stories (it’s a whole principle) in a few weeks.

Another way to make ideas concrete is to use what the Heath brothers call “memory velcro” and a teacher friend of mine calls “memory hooks”.  These are parts of a message or story where memory “hangs”.  For example, the more details you give about the day you went sledding–the fuzzy red scarf, the melted snow in your boots, the blue sky after the storm–the more “hooks” your brain has to remember the story or idea.

The Heath brothers explain that the trick to making ideas concrete is to make sure that you are using a “universal language” that is clear and understandable to everyone in the room.  It takes a little work to proof your work, but it helps to have a clear idea of who might be in the room.

Concrete…now that’s really sticky.



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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Super Bonus!

Hey all who are visiting for the first time and for those of you who have already subscribed!  We’re so glad you’re joining us!!! 

If you are coming for the first time, make sure to read the previous post for directions on how to enter our contest.  You have a chance to win a free service!

For everybody…we are offering 25% off to the first 10 people to contract for a service.  I’m so excited to meet those of you who are being called!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making Your Messages Stick Part 2 (and a bonus!)

I’ll get to our regularly scheduled post in just a minute, but I’d like to tell you about our first contest in which you can win one of our services! The one of your choice–hurrah!  If you subscribe to our weekly tips, you are entered once.  If you complete a short survey, you are entered once.  If you do both, you’re entered twice.  Click here to take survey

I’m so excited to hear what you have to say!  Now, girls, this is on the honor system.  Please leave a comment below telling me if you did one or both with your name and email address.  Comments will be open for two full weeks.  On Tuesday, September 28th, I’ll pick the winner randomly.  The winner will be able to choose one of our services which is a value of up to $195!!  (I don’t mean to insult anybody’s intelligence, but until I figure out how to change it, you can get to the comments section by clicking on the title of this post and scrolling to the bottom.)

On to today’s post…Last week our key word was “simple”.  This week the key word borrowed from Dan and Chip Heath’s book Made to Stick is “unexpected”. 

The Heath brothers make this insightful comment, “Common sense is the enemy of sticky messages.  When messages sound like common sense, they float gently in one ear and out the other.”

So true.  I’m an avid reader, and I often find myself skimming and not truly reading.  Recently, though, I’ve been reading a series by Mary DeMuth.  Because her word choices are so unique and truly surprising, I’m pretty sure that I read every word and didn’t skim at all.

Chip and Dan explain that there’s actually a biological purpose for surprise.  When we are struck with anything unexpected, our brains react with surprise and latch on to information that will protect us from future unexpected events.  They say, “…surprise acts as a kind of emergency override…things come to a halt, ongoing activities are interrupted, our attention focuses involuntarily on the event that surprised us.”

How do we create surprise in our messages?  We avoid cliches and think of new and fresh ways to say things.  Choose examples that are counter-intuitive.  Tell stories with unexpected endings.  Create tension with mystery and stories that pique your audience’s curiosity.  One way to do the last thing is to begin a story at the beginning of your talk and end it later.

These are just a few ideas to create the unexpected in your messages.  This chapter in the book is chock full of stories and examples.  My favorite is what Nora Ephron’s journalism professor did to his class.  The way he used surprise changed the course of her life and made her want to be a writer, so don’t miss it!

Don’t forget to leave your comment if you subscribe or do the survey.  Thank you, thank you for helping us make this the best speaker service ever!


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