Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to Relax When the Pressure’s On

Today’s post is a vlog, so for those of you who get this in your email inbox, click on the title to take you to the website.  Thanks for taking the extra step!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Getting the Word Out

The question we receive most often from our readers is, “How do you start to get the word out about your speaking?”

I want to give an easy, practical application to answer the question, but I’d like to address the elephant in the room first.  The big struggle for most of us is whether we should even create a plan for promoting our speaking.

I’ve had the exact same source of inner conflict.  I’d constantly battle these questions:  If this is really God’s plan for my life, won’t He make it happen?  Won’t it seem really self-centered to others?  Who do I think I am to promote myself?

My “lightbulb moments” about marketing and promotion centered around this one idea…

Although we need to give people some information about ourselves, the 2 main focal points of any “promotion” need to be the audience and the message.

It truly is a huge risk for any event planner to hand you the microphone, so you do need to give information about your background and experience to set her heart and mind at ease.  But the focus of promotion should be your message and how it will help the people who hear it.

That was a huge weight off of me.  Once I understood that even my promotional materials–my website, my biosheet, etc–shouldn’t be self-serving but rather about service, I was set free to talk about what I love the most about ministry.  I could share the message about how God has changed me.

One of my first steps I took years ago to get the word out about my messages is one I’d like to recommend to those of you just starting out.  I wrote a letter to friends and family to tell them about my new sense of calling and ministry venture.  I included women who I’d been in church or Bible study with who had moved to other areas.  Most of them were people I knew really well who would know my heart, and lots of them were people who had heard me teach at some point.  I was still afraid of saying it out loud, so humility wasn’t a problem in letting them know about my ministry! :)

At the time, I hadn’t developed a biosheet, but I highly recommend including one when you send your letter.  It may be a short, simple one that you create on your computer.  However, I think it will carry more weight for your friends to hand your biosheet to someone, along with their verbal recommendation, than it will without it.  If you need examples of a biosheet, visit the speaker pages for Proverbs 31 Ministries to read samples and get your creative juices going.

For those of you who have been growing your ministry, how are you getting the word out?  Do you have any other questions about marketing?  If so, leave them in the comments, and we’ll write a blog post to answer your question for our whole speaker girl community.


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Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I often pinch myself to test whether I’m really doing this job as speaker coach.  I love it indescribably, and I’m completely floored and honored to get to be a little piece of so many people’s speaking ministry.  I get to work with lots of people I come to love.

I want to do a celebration of one those people today.  Connie Carey has become a friend as well as a client as we’ve worked together on her  biosheet, ministry organization, message evaluation and a couple of smaller projects.  She is an AMAZING speaker, and lots of her training has come from Toastmasters.

Back in May, Connie contacted me and asked me to go over a message she had written.  This message is a very special one, because it carried Connie to Toastmaster’s World Championship at their International Convention.  I’m excited to announce that Connie was part of the top 18 speakers that began with a group of 30,000!  Incredible, right?!  I’m so proud of her and how she carried a message of hope, inspiration and love into a secular competition.Connie Cary 040 cropped

Today I want to urge you to click here to read Connie’s fabulous blog post on her experience and her tips for writing a winning message.

Also, I want to share what Connie said about how I helped her with the message.  (Let me hasten to say that it was almost flawless by the time in landed in my inbox!)

“…you look at a speech over and over and reach a point that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You begin to make assumptions that everyone understands the story like you do.  But they don’t.  The transitional statement you suggested was really important in helping the audience understand the progression of events.  It was something I had missed until you pointed it out.”

If you have a message that you’d like to run in front of another set of eyes, I’d love to see it!  You can sign up for a Specialized Coaching Call (at the bottom of our List of Services), and we’ll capitalize on the “two-heads-are-better-than-one” principle to maximize your message before you deliver it.


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Retreat Devotion

I’m overwhelmingly thankful that so many of you expressed interest in a retreat with Jesus.  I thought I’d reprint a devotion I wrote several years ago based on my first retreat.  Hope it’s an encouragement!  (Also thanks for your patience as we’ve tweaked the site for our subscribers!)

 “Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things..” Psalm 107: 8-9 (NIV)

I couldn’t help but gasp at the end of my friend Caroline’s story.  When a new neighbor moved in next door, Caroline had rallied the troops in her neighborhood to prepare a warm greeting.  She and her friend had planned a feast to take over to welcome the newcomer to their community.  Caroline called the new neighbor and was surprised when her hospitality was met with suspicion.   

“Why did you say that you wanted to bring me dinner?” the new neighbor questioned.  Caroline explained that it was a tradition in their area and that they’d like to deliver dinner to welcome her personally.  The neighbor responded, “I tell you what.  I’ll give you a call when I’m hungry.”  Click. 

Shocking!  Caroline then reflected on how many times we treat God the same way that her new neighbor treated her.  Each day God lays out a feast and invites every believer to come eat our fill.  I had to ask myself an important question.  How many days do I rush by God’s table and throw an “I’ll come when I’m hungry!” back over my shoulder?  I think I’m full, but God knows that I’m simply ignoring my hunger.  I need to sit down daily to eat and be filled from God’s table.  Luke 1: 53 says, “He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (NIV) 

I long to have a heart to approach Him daily as I am—poor and hungry.  He invites me to come to Him so that I can leave rich and full.  What a glorious exchange!  What a divine pleasure! 

Daily time enjoying God is essential, but sometimes God gives us an invitation to a private, extended feast.  I am envious of one of my pastors.  He takes a week each year for a spiritual retreat to a monastery.  He goes where it’s quiet and simple and spends a week with Jesus.  Maybe someday when my children are older and I’m caught up on laundry I’ll be able to do that, but recently God led me to do something equally wonderful on a smaller scale.  I took a spiritual retreat during the school day in a room at my church. 

As I walked up the stairs to the empty room, I felt nervous.  I had spent hours in prayer with others, but I had never spent this long alone with God before.  Would I have enough to say to Him?  Would He speak to me in the silence?  Would the minutes drag by?  Would I walk out unchanged or disappointed? 

At the end of the day, my questions were answered.  God met me there.  We filled our time together with prayer, Bible reading and worship.  God spoke words of direction to me in the silence.  I came in knowing that I was hungry, and He was faithful to fill me.  Having mini-retreats with Jesus is something that I plan to do now at least twice a year.  In the midst of ministry and a full life, it’s necessary to intentionally set extended time aside to seek His face and worship Him.  I’ll still look forward to a week in an abbey, but in the meantime I’ll bask in a school day retreat as I renew my relationship with God and feast on His goodness!                                                                                                                                                                

Dear Lord, help me know You are good. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 Related Resources:

 Visit Amy Carroll’s blog

 The Reason We Speak edited by Marybeth Whalen

 Application Steps: 

Pray and ask God to give you a desire for extended time with Him.

 Mark a day on your calendar for a retreat with Jesus.


Have I ignored my spiritual hunger and run by God’s feast?

 Power Verses:

Mark 6:31, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”

 Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”




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