Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Input: Resources for Speakers

Several years ago, our Proverbs 31 team all took the test in to identify each individual’s primary strengths. One of mine was “input.” The shortest way to describe this strength is “a geek-ish love of research and information.”

It’s really true about me. Not only am I a bookworm and resource junkie, I love to share these pieces of information with others. People around me– friends, family, pastor, teammates, etc–are probably sick of receiving links via email…so this week I thought I’d give them a break and inflict…I mean invest…my super-power on you. Here are some resources I highly recommend:

For finding your ministry niche:

  •   Understanding your own strengths is key to finding your sweet spot. The book comes with a code in the back to do the test online. You get individualized feedback that’s invaluable. (I can testify that the test completely pegged me!)
  • Find Your Niche  An easy-to-read article with 3 insightful steps to finding your niche.

For getting the word out:

  • Wildfire Marketing  Although Rob Eager’s tips are targeted to authors, I learn lots of great marketing ideas for speakers as well.
  • Jeff Goins’ podcasts  Jeff is doing some dynamite interviews with folks like Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki. These marketing gurus also have a generous heart toward sharing their expertise. Love that.

From great trainers:

For improving your delivery:

For overcoming nerves:

  • Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk about how your body language shapes your self-image. I get totally totally geeked out on TED Talks, and this is one of my favorites. Fascinating stuff.

These should keep you busy for a while! :) I’d love to hear which ones you like and any other resources you find helpful. I invite YOUR “input”!


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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Social Networking Links

A friend pointed out that I didn’t provide the links in yesterday’s post to access Michaela’s terrific info on endings, so here they are!

We provide the same content in both places, so simply choose the one you like the best. :)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014


“The end of THE END is the best place to begin THE END, because if you read THE END from the beginning of the beginning of THE END to the end of the end of THE END, you will arrive at the end.”  ~Lemony Snicket

As hard as it is to read that quote, it’s not nearly as hard as writing a great ending to a message. Or at least that’s how I feel!

I love starting with a personal story, compelling the audience to connect through felt need, teaching through God’s truth and coming up with a transformational challenge. It’s when I have to wrap it all up that I begin to falter. Just this morning I was preparing for an event this weekend by reading over a message. All was well with just a few tweaks here and there until I got to the end.


This message isn’t just any message. It’s my testimony message, “The Untying of the Straight-Laced Girl”. It’s the story of my heart’s transformation and the power of Jesus in my life. So it shouldn’t have a weak, wishy-washy ending, should it? I want something that stirs women’s hearts and draws them to the Captor of my soul.

How do we construct great endings for our messages? I’m still learning, but here are some things I’ll focus on as I write a stronger one for “The Untying of a Straight-Laced Girl”.

  • End with hope–So much of our messages center around giving our audience the “how to”, but we have to leave them with “want to”. How will their life improve if they walk out the truths you’ve presented? We need to end with inspiration so our audiences walk out inspired, full of hope and ready to make a change. Painting a picture–showing instead of telling–through story is often a great way to end.
  • End with a crafted sentence– A couple of years ago at She Speaks Intensive, our participants were videoed doing a three minute message at the end of the conference. It was a stressful situation for everyone, and toward the end of our preparation time, the freak out started. (I could completely understand!) I found some very profound words coming out of my mouth, “You need to CRAFT and MEMORIZE three sentences: your opening sentence, your sticky statement and your closing sentence. Everything else can be fairly fluid.” As these words flowed out of my mouth, I thought, “Great advice, Amy. Why don’t you try it?!” Now I do! I carefully work on and memorize a strong hook for the beginning and a memorable sentence for the end. It has helped tremendously to be able to start and end with confidence.
  • End with emotion and inflection– Years ago, I was talking with my friend Rachel who teaches communications at a university. She shared that her classes analyze TED Talks to find what makes a great speech. They found effective endings create spontaneous applause. What a great insight! I know from experience that lots of my endings created a puzzled pause instead of spontaneous applause. There was an obvious, “Is she finished?” in my audiences eyes. I’m learning to really FEEL my end, to let that through in my voice and to use inflection to indicate the ending. If you’re not sure about how to do this, experiment a little yourself and start listening to great endings.

Michaela, the wonder-intern, has included lots of great additional information about endings on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’d love for you to join us there!


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Tuesday, May 13, 2014


A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Indiana where I was part of a wonderful event. The team truly had servant’s hearts, and I found I just couldn’t out-work them. It’s truly my heart’s desire to serve at each speaking opportunity, but occasionally event planners assign ME as a job.  I’ll have one person who has been assigned the arduous :) task of taking care of me from airport pickup to drop off.

(Note: If you are planning an event, this is the absolute biggest gift you can give to your speaker. It’s such a luxury, but I LOVE it when I have one contact who can direct me, answer any questions, help me with last minute emergencies, etc. I don’t ever want to be a diva, but that one person increases my feeling of “comfortableness” exponentially!)

Event planners always pick the warmest, friendliest, most hospitable women for this job. Lisa, my liason for the Indiana event, was no exception. She made my visit memorable and comfortable. As we drove, we chatted about our families, ministry and girly topics of every sort. At one point she asked me a great question, “How does it feel to spend time with people you don’t know? Do you feel uncomfortable?”

I thought for a moment before I replied, “I don’t feel uncomfortable at all. It’s funny how God works and knits people together by His Spirit before we even meet. I feel like I have sisters everywhere I go.”

I’ve been doing lots of practical posts, but today I want to focus on one of the spiritual blessings of being a speaker. God will give you sisters wherever you go–women who love Jesus, serve other women, and love you whole-heartedly too.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34-35

I see this verse in action at each event I take part in, and it’s an incomparable blessing! What blessings do you receive as you speak?


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