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 . 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.

from on .

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.

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

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Monday, June 27, 2016

How NOT to Drive an Event Planner Crazy

To get ready for my breakout session at She Speaks this year, I’ve been asking speaker friends like you to share your creative ideas for adding value to your events. It’s been great to get your feedback!

Last week I suddenly realized that I hadn’t tapped an important group for the information I was seeking–the event planners themselves. I figured it would be valuable to hear what had been important to them instead of just shooting in the dark for what might be important to them.

Duh! The responses I got were so enlightening!

In reading the lists they sent me, though, I realized that I’ve probably been one of the speakers that tends to drive event planners around the bend. I’ve never meant to be the vehicle to crazy-ville, but I probably have been. I realized that I do really well on some points but that in my heart’s desire to avoid being the diva speaker, I actually haven’t given them enough information.

Here’s an example…

When I arrived to one particular event, I realized that I needed a couple of things. I needed the wireless internet passcode, and I really needed the stage rearranged. It was set up with one of those humungous podiums in the middle and musician’s equipment close to it on both sides.

What to do?

I had to ask for the passcode since I needed it for the book table, so the event planner scrambled around asking about a dozen people before she found it.

By that time, I felt so bad that I didn’t want to bother her with the stage layout, so I didn’t mention it. That seemed like the right thing to do until an attendee afterwards said, “I felt so sorry for you up there. You looked so STUCK!” Oh, dear. I thought I hid it well and compensated, but the truth was that I felt so stuck!! I like to move around and hate to stand behind a podium, so I had been completely miserable while I delivered my message. Evidently, it showed. 🙁

One of the event planners listed both of those things as details she wants to know ahead of time, so I’ve developed a new tool to share with you. Click on the image below to see my new “Details for Amy” doc.

Details for Amy

I don’t want to lead with my “list of demands”, so I’ll send this as a follow-up to event planners after we’ve talked personally. I want to first load her up with my heart for service and warm-fuzzies so that she understands this is to be a help and to make the day of the event as smooth as possible. (You’ll also notice that I worked to make it look cute, warm and a little fun. Graphic design is a beautiful communicator.)

Feel free to make your own version of this doc if you think it would be helpful to you!


This will be my last blog post until August. July is crazy-busy with She Speaks prep, so it’s a non-blogging month.

Would you help me to a make a decision by giving your honest feedback? I’m thinking about taking my “Added Value:Giving Your Events More Than Just Enough” as a webinar in the fall. Would that be a topic that would interest you? Would you be willing to make a small investment in your ministry to be part of it? Be honest–I promise you won’t hurt my feelings!

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What To Do After an Event


Just on time! I was wondering about what to write to you this week, and my client Rachel sent me a great question.

How do I manage after I’ve spoken when I’m no longer running on adrenaline – when I get home and I’m replaying the event in my mind and how I did. It’s difficult.

Have you run into this too? I had asked Rachel to tell me about how her event went, so she started to evaluate… and maybe veered into picking herself apart. I’ve sure driven myself into the emotional ditch after an event!

Before the event, we study, prepare, write, and practice, but how do we deal with our thoughts post-event? I’ve learned to do two things in a specific order.

Celebrate what God did through you.

For about a day or two, I won’t allow myself to critique my message. I just bask in and celebrate God’s work at the event. I offer the flowers of positive comments to Him as a bouquet, praise Him for the results women shared, and rest in my delivery.

Ten Boom quote

I’ve learned that right after the event I’m too tender and too tired to do the work of critique without getting discouraged.

Critique your message. 

Celebrate and don’t negate the work of God, but assessment is important work too. This is easiest to do if you have an audio recording or video of your message. I ask for on every time I speak. Sometimes it’s not available–and that’s ok– but if it is, I ask for a copy. If you don’t have a recording, you can go through your message and think about the event.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you listen or think through:

  • Did the audience respond the way I thought they would in each section?
  • Was I holding their attention in each section?
  • Which sections felt too slow or “clunky”?
  • What felt unnatural to me as I presented?
  • Do I hear any vocal crutches– um, uh, and others?
  • Did I use my voice to its greatest potential with variation in volume, pitch and rate?
  • Did I employ pregnant pauses around powerful points in order to let the audience ponder a second?

If you’re watching video, you can also asses your physical presentation. You need to make sure to do that sooner than later even though it’s excruciating!

Usually, if I allow time to celebrate before I critique, I can be more dispassionate about it instead of feeling crushed by my inner critic. Self-evaluation is an extremely important tool to learn and grow as a speaker, but we don’t want to be our own worst enemies, and we certainly don’t want to forget the work God undeniably is doing through us!


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Monday, May 23, 2016

Boasting in You


My mama taught me that it isn’t nice to brag, and I’ll bet yours did too.

But it turns out that our mamas weren’t quite right. The Bible actually endorses bragging as long as it’s bragging (or the word is actually boasting) in the right person. Here’s how Paul says it to the Corinthians:

“We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory.  But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”  (II Corinthians 10:14-17)

Paul uses the word “boast” over and over again in his letters to the Corinthians, and when I was teaching on this passage in a session from my Breaking Up with Perfect retreat, I took a look at the definition of the root word. In scripture, the word boast could also be translated as “rejoicing in” or “glorying in.”

Our Proverbs 31 speaker team had a call last week, and Lynn Cowell began to encourage us to boast more– to boast in what we are seeing the Lord do as we go and speak.

I find it hard to break that old habit of not boasting at all, but I think Lynn’s right. When we boast in Jesus’ work instead of our own, it’s something entirely different. It’s rejoicing in Him. It’s giving Him the glory. Boasting encourages the people around us. It reaffirms the continuing work of God. It gives people hope that if God works in that situation, He can work in theirs too.

Listen to how my friend Sharon Glasgow did it on her Facebook page:

“Our 87 year old ‘Farmer’ neighbor fell off his tractor, it rolled over his chest, crushing bones and causing internal damage. He laid on the ground for 4 hours and couldn’t move. When help found him, they said his cows surrounded him in a circle! We asked the neighbor telling us the story what they were doing, he said, ‘Praying!, The Farmer came to a wedding in our barn this past weekend. Yep! He’s alive, well and still farming! God’s got more work for him here!” ~Sharon Glasgow

Sharon is always overflowing with stories of God’s power, and I often read her bragging on Him on Facebook by telling what she has seen Him do at her speaking events.

I want to begin this practice of bragging on Jesus! So here I go:

Last weekend I spoke at Highland Baptist Church in New London, NC. To tell you the truth, even though the women were warm and complimentary as they left, I wasn’t sure if my message had made much of an impact. I collected all my things,including the cards on which they had written a break up letter to Perfect, and left. The next day, I fished the break up letters out of my bag and began to read. Tears filled my eyes when I realized that Jesus had truly set women free. They declared freedom from:

  • Worry
  • Being in control of everything
  • Fixing everyone
  • Loneliness
  • Being judgmental, critical, and complaining
  • The insecurity of caring what others think of them more than what God thinks
  • Trying to be what they’re not
  • Feeling unworthy and not good enough
  • Working to do everything right
  • Trying to make everyone like them
  • Playing games
  • Worrying about not measuring up or having all the answers
  • Competing with others
  • Shame and feeling inferior
  • Being embarrassed by their physical appearance
  • Fear of not meeting expectations
  • Trying to be the perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect friend and keep a perfectly clean home
  • Feeling shame over past sin
  • Jealousy and distrust
  • Feeling responsibility for a loved one’s betrayal
  • Handling all the problems for their children
  • Holding on to hate

Whew! Y’all!!! Jesus was doing tremendous work behind those beautiful, smiling faces, and I wouldn’t have know if they hadn’t been so honest in their break up letters.

So I’m bragging on Him. He is good, and He is at work. How about you? Would you brag on Jesus here? How have you seen Him at work lately?

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