Monday, August 29, 2011

A Chance to Convince You

I’ve written here a lot trying to convince you that your unique voice is needed in the world.  I want to combat The Liar who whispers, “Why would God call you to speak?  There are already so many speakers.  You don’t have a thing to add.”

I saw the most beautiful picture of how God powerfully uses unique voices at She Speaks this year.  Lysa TerKeurst spoke during the main session Friday night followed by Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, on Saturday night.

Here are some words I’d use to describe Lysa—down-to-earth, story teller, poised, God-watching, stunning, crafter of memorable phrases, dazzling

Here are some words I’d use to describe Ann’s–powerfully hushed, mind-challenging, poetic, God magnifying, thoughfully woven, elegant

As speakers, the two women were night and day, but both powerfully glorified God and challenged their listeners to more intentionally live for Him.

I could go on and on about this topic and how it pertains to these two speakers and YOU, but you can actually see it in person which is infinitely more powerful.  One of the things I always encourage our Next Step clients to do is to listen to great speakers, and you have the chance to hear Lysa and Ann together!  On September 6  at 8 pm EST, Lysa and Ann will be doing a free webcast on “Yes to God”.  Click here to go to Lysa’s blog to register.  Don’t miss this opportunity to have a spiritual feast AND experience two very different speakers with two completely unique voices.  I think you’ll be encouraged!

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Monday, August 22, 2011

A Winner and a Special Guest!

The winner of a copy of Andy Stanley’s book Communicating for a Change is Jackie Dummer who left her comment on Aug. 16 at 6:54 am.  Yay, Jackie!

Today we have a guest post from Lynn Cowell who has found her niche in speaking to teens and moms of teens.  She has some terrific tips on speaking to teens.  I think there’s a lot of wisdom in her post for all us Speaker Girls!

Top Five Tips for Speaking to Teens

With mentoring teens for over ten years and having three of my own, I’ve gathered a few tips on speaking to teens:

1) Be direct and honest.
One of the best compliments I received was from 19 year old named Andi. “You are raw and direct.” I wasn’t sure how to take it until she added “That is great!” If you are speaking on a tough issue, like purity for instance, you can still speak truth into teens’ lives even if you’re teen years were rough. It is very important, however, to be honest. You’ll lose all creditability and opportunities for future invest if you are not honest.

2) Be vulnerable
When you are vulnerable, it creates a foundation for being heard. I’m not saying you have to spill your entire heart, but give them reason to believe you are real. Connect any point you make to a story; they will remember your story long after you are gone.

3) Be informed
If you want to be relevant, you have to know what is going on. Spend time with teens. Cook with them. Eat with them. Hang out with them. Read up on what is going on in their culture. This shows that you care about them.

4) Be approachable
Teens don’t need another authority figure in their lives. They have enough parents, coaches and teachers. They need a safe place to ask questions and be themselves. Listen and when the time is right and you have earned the right, speak truth.

5) Be available.
If you are speaking at an event, do not spend all of your time with the event planner, worship team or parents attending. Be with the kids. Eat by them. Sit by them. Talk to them. If you do, you will get to pray with them.

Lynn Cowell is the author of “His Revolutionary Love; Jesus’ Radical Pursuit of You” a study for girls ages 12 – 18. She conducts “Revolutionary Love” conferences around the country empowering girls to find confidence in true love leading to wise choices. Connect with her at, Facebook at Lynn Martin Cowell and on Twitter at Lynn Cowell.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I’ve been writing a series on calling on my personal blog, so I invite you over.  Click here.  This week’s is on the work of a calling, so this post is a tie-in.

I keep rolling Ann Voskamp’s She Speaks message around in my mind.  In one part of the talk, she began to talk about how we become successful, and she gave some wonderful stats.  It turns out that a genius IQ or being a childhood prodigy is not a marker of becoming a life-time master of a subject or discipline.  The main marker is hours of practice or work.

That comforts me for I’m neither a genius or a prodigy.  I admit that I’ve listened to Beth Moore, Kay Arthur or many of the speakers on our team and thought, “Maybe I just don’t have IT.”

But since work turns out to be “IT”, I can do that.  I may never achieve the same success as the world sees it, but if I join with God, I can become fully what He’s called me to be.  What will that look like?

I believe it looks like continuous growth.

Growth requires goals and plans.  (Just take a gander at Proverbs.  It’s written all over.)  So today I don’t want to hog the page.  I’d love for you to share.  What are your goals and plans for growth this year as a speaker? Leaving a comment and sharing will enter you into a contest for a free copy of Communicating for a Change!

I’ll start us off…My goal this year is to have my messages increasingly memorized.  I’m planning to use a new method for my notes called brain mapping.  (I promise I’ll share what I’m learning about brain mapping after I’ve actually tried it!)

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tell Somebody

Those of us of a certain age…ahem…remember a tv show called “Welcome Back Kotter”.  In Mr. Kotter’s classroom, one of my favorites, the one who always captured my little girl giggle, was Horshack.  Whenever Mr. Kotter posed a question to the class, Horshack would leap out of his seat, waving his hand wildly, and shout, “Ooo, Ooo, me, Mr. Kotter, ME!”

Were you that kind of student in school?  The eager beaver who knew the answer and wanted to answer every question?  Or were you the shy student who rarely raised your hand and most often needed calling on to share the answer?

It seems that no matter what kind of student we were, once God calls us to become speakers we become the shy student.  We’re the girl at the back of the class with lots to say but reluctant to let anyone know.  I was definitely that way.  (Even though NO ONE would describe me as shy!)

I remember being in an airport on the way home from a Compassion trip.  I was sitting beside Carrie McGinty, a woman who was helping Proverbs 31 with marketing, recounting to her how completely excruciating the whole marketing thing was.  She asked me two important questions, “Amy has God given you a message that you believe women need to hear?”

“Of course,” I answered, “or I wouldn’t be doing this.”

“If you don’t tell people, how will anyone know?”

Ding!  The light went on.

First, let me encourage you to market your message rather than yourself.  That takes lots of the pressure off.  Event coordinators will want to know about you, but your personal information should be woven in with the gift that you’re bringing–the message.

Second, (and I know this is the hardest part) I understand the fear of saying this out loud, “I am a speaker”, but there are ways to humbly do it and begin to tell people about your message.  You have to tell somebody.  Tell your women’s ministry leader that you’d love a chance to share or tell your leadership at church. 

One of my first “tell somebodys” was when I wrote a letter to friends and family all over the country explaining about my message and what God was doing in my life.  I asked them to prayerfully consider recommending me to leaders in their church.  I didn’t get tons of response, but God opened a few more doors through that letter.

I urge you today to start softly getting your message out by first telling somebody that you have one.


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