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SOS: Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers (The Ending)

Woman phone booth

Are you communicating clearly?
Motivate your audience
TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP!

This is part 8, and the conclusion, of my SOS: Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers blog series. You can read Part 7 by clicking here.

Part 8: SOS Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers (The Ending, or Your Conclusion)

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ~ Lao Tzu

Just like you can’t ever make a first impression again, you can’t make a last impression again. How will the audience remember you? What aha’s will they take away from you speaking? What are you trying to COMMUNICATE?

You want to WOW the audience with your conclusion. I love what Ibloom Founder/Speaker/Author Kelly Thorne Gore writes in her book Empowering Coaches: The Christian Coach’s Guide to a Successful Business on page 45:

“Conclude by summarizing and giving your audience a clear next step to take. I heard a very well trained pastor give what he called the message of his life. He unfolded his talk, gave stories, kept us interested, and had great information. But when he was finished, he simply said, “If I could only give one message before I died, this is what it would be.” Then he walked off the stage. We were all left with interesting information but we didn’t know what to do with it. You must let your audience know what their next step is as a result of listening to you speak.”

You aren’t speaking up front just to show off your cute new outfit and shoes or your sharp blue suit. You want to connect with their hearts and minds and for them to learn a new idea, to buy your product or service, or for something to happen as a result of them listening to you – to take a next step, to take action.

It is a great disservice to the audience to leave them hanging and wondering what to do now, not giving them any action step(s). They will be confused, or at the very least, they’ll walk out thinking, “That was nice. He’s lived an interesting life. But what was the point of his speech? Hey, do you want to go eat some Chinese? I’m hungry.”

You want to impact your listeners with God’s Biblical truths, your experience(s), and creative ideas that will practically help, transform, and improve their lives. You show them how your message, your products, services, or other offering can do that.

For example, event planners should hire me for their women’s conference because I am a passionate, Biblically-grounded, and humorous speaker who loves to encourage women to use their gifts for God’s glory, doing what they love. When I speak, I share how one of my books, Walking With God, teaches people how to develop a daily quiet time with God in the midst of their busy, hectic schedules and to hear His voice to fulfill their great purpose in life.

Shine and be the inspiring example for them. Your message should be shared in such a passionate, intriguing way that people are compelled to move from the unsatisfying place where they are now to a new, exciting place where they want to be! Help them to get unstuck with intentional, positive choices and to accelerate forward with their lives.

Impart encouragement, hope, and joy. Speak God’s love and truth into their souls. And when you conclude your presentation, remind them of the key points (no more than 3 to 5 points usually, or they will forget and ask their girlfriend, “What was the 13th point again?) and re-emphasize your one BIG point. (Please, you do have a point, don’t you?) What are you wanting to say?

  • Maybe it’s that God is a merciful, loving God who forgives sins – no matter what they’ve done in the past.
  • Maybe it’s that Jesus still heals today.
  • Maybe it’s that God has a purpose for their life. (So many people don’t understand or believe this!)
  • Maybe it’s that there is still life after divorce – even joy and happiness.
  • Maybe it’s that God wants to prosper their business and bless them beyond what they think or can imagine.
  • Maybe it’s that they can become a life coach, even if they’re working in a job right now that’s a totally different field…and to just take that next step of faith.

Whatever your big point is, communicate it clearly and motivate them to take the next step.

And leave them with a feeling of “WOW.”

Then your conclusion will be just the beginning….of a relationship between you and her/him.

“Stories are like fairy gold, the more you give away, the more you have.” – Polly McGuire

Come To The Edge (Christopher Logue)

Come to the edge.

We might fall.

Come to the edge.

It’s too high!

COME TO THE EDGE!

And they came, and he pushed, and they flew.

*******

Are you an event planner? I’d love to speak at your women’s conference or event! Click here to learn more about my Speaking or contact me by clicking here.

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Blog, Business, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

SOS: Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers (Content)

woman driving car with scarfThis is part 7 of my blog series, SOS: Starting Out Speaking For Beginner Speakers. You can read part 6 by clicking here.

In the last blog post in this series, we covered your speaking bio, that the event planner will (hopefully) share to introduce you just before you enter the presentation area. Today we’ll talk about content ideas for your speaking presentation.

As I shared before in this series, there are 2 rules for speaking:

  1. Have something interesting to say.
  2. Don’t be boring!

As a Christian believer, I also add a third, which is the most important:

  • Say what God tells you to say and glorify Jesus. You can’t go wrong here!

Here’s what the Bible says in Jeremiah 1: 4-10, CEV: “The Lord said:  “Jeremiah, I am your Creator, and before you were born, I chose you to speak for me to the nations.” I replied, “I’m not a good speaker, Lord, and I’m too young.” “Don’t say you’re too young,” the Lord answered. “If I tell you to go and speak to someone, then go! And when I tell you what to say, don’t leave out a word! I promise to be with you and keep you safe, so don’t be afraid.” The Lord reached out his hand, then he touched my mouth and said, “I am giving you the words to say, and I am sending you with authority to speak to the nations for me. You will tell them of doom and destruction, and of rising and rebuilding again.”

After God gives you the main message He wants you to share with the audience, how do you get inspired to write your content? Here’s 5 tips for inspired content:

1. The Bible. God’s word is alive. Exciting real-life stories filled with adventure such as the Flood and the rainbow, Job a good man who had bad things happen to him, a young Jewish girl named Hadassah who God set apart for a great purpose as queen, David the shepherd boy who God chose to fight on the front lines of war and raised up to be king, Mary Magdalene who had 7 demons cast out of her, who was the first evangelist. Examples, both serious and humorous (like gloomy, doubting Thomas who said, “Let us go to Jerusalem, too, that we may die with Jesus”), that teach us important truths such as having strong faith.

Jesus’ stories and Solomon’s romantic poetry, the lonely but faithful prophets, the apostle Paul who was mocked for his faith in Jesus, the teen girl Mary’s faithful obedience, the wisdom of the Proverbs, the disciples who constantly screwed up, yet God used to spread the gospel around the world (which gives us hope!). There is so much meat in the Bible, which makes solid content for your speaking presentation.

2. Daily life. My family knows by now that practically anything they say or do is fodder for my speaking or writing! Your life provides some of the BEST creative material for speaking. Anything goes. Have an observing eye and a listening ear, and write things down in your journal for your next speaking presentation.

Your kids’ antics and conversations are so truthful and often funny and make wonderful anecdotes to share when you speak. Your husband or a friend may speak a word of wisdom (or of irritation!) that you can quote, like Ray saying to me last week in the car when I told him to stop trying to control me about a matter, “There is no controlling you! You are like a wild horse racing off a cliff with no one able to stop you!”

A financial crisis, health issue, career or ministry change, or fitness goals (such as our daughter Heather recently losing 25 pounds by cutting out sugar and running for exercise) can be shared as insightful lessons that help and comfort others.

What experiences have you had or what is happening in your life right now? Do you have 10 kids and/or do you homeschool your kids? Have you been a flight attendant or are you a jewelry artist? Were you in a nearly fatal car accident and God miraculously healed you like He did my friend Rochelle Valasek, one of the speakers for our RELEASED Women’s Conference on April 27?

You might not think it’s so interesting, but others may. People love to hear stories – yours and other people’s. Jesus used stories to teach truth. What stories can you share?

3. Travel. I love traveling so much and other than the Bible, it provides the most inspiration for my speaking and writing. Whether it’s flying internationally or driving on a fun road trip, listening to the radio with the wind in your face like in the beautiful picture above, going to a new place inspires you and taps into your creativity.

Traveling alters your perspective by letting you see, hear and experience new things. Traveling makes me feel more alive than anything else. I want to travel all around the world, on every continent, before I die.

Where do you want to go? Where have you traveled that you can share about when you speak?

4. Nature. A gorgeous rainbow of tulips, Ireland-green grass, cherry blossom trees bursting into bloom in spring, the sun on your face, stars sparkling against a black night, the magnificence of the ocean – God’s creation is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for speaking and writing.

I’ve been thinking about having a beach retreat later this year and a dear friend wrote me an email this week which said, “I saw your thread on FB (Facebook) about a beach retreat! It does sound amazing, Beth. Really, by the ocean where the breeze blows your stress away and you see God so clearly in His awesome, powerful, beautiful creation – the ocean. It always makes me think of Goldie Hawn saying that her father told her that if she “ever starts to feel too big for her britches” to stand by the ocean and remember how small she really is.  The ocean seems to put things back in perspective.”

Another friend of mine on Facebook, Jennifer, said that as she’s been walking outside recently, God has been giving her exciting, new ideas to start a Creative Coaching business. Get out in the sun, the fresh air, and nature to be inspired with fresh ideas for your next presentation.

Share about your pets and others’ pets, animals at the zoo, like the polar bear with the thick, white fur who was pacing back and forth in the enclosure and looking so hot in the summer heat at the Kansas City zoo when Leah and I visited last year, or your fish that died from a friend’s child who fed it Oreo cookies’ crumbs. (A true story that happened to our daughter Leah’s  fish when she was a toddler.)

5. News, t.v. shows, and movies. I hardly ever watch the news and don’t watch t.v. I don’t have time and it’s usually so negative or crass. But once in awhile, I’m intrigued by something unusual in the news, my heart quickened by a great new movie, or am inspired by someone like Angie Miller on American Idol.

You want to at least be aware of what’s popular and share material that is relevant to your audience.

In my next blog post, we’ll talk about your presentation conclusion – it’s important to WOW! your audience with your intro and your conclusion, leaving them with a great take-away.

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Blog, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

SOS: Starting Out Speaking Tips For Beginner Speakers

Beth Jones, speaking at Women of Destiny Conference, Bahamas

Beth Jones, speaking at Women of Destiny Conference, Bahamas

Have you always dreamed of speaking on stage, but the dream has never become a reality? Do you want to start speaking publicly, but don’t know how to get started? In my last post, I wrote about when I first started speaking. It wasn’t my idea; I was real shy and terrified to speak in front of even a few people! But God had other plans. 🙂

I’m so glad He did because now I LOVE speaking! It energizes me and makes me happy. My desire is to glorify Jesus and share about God’s love and the great plans He has for women everywhere, to use their gifts for Him and doing what they love.

Recently in a Facebook forum, a fellow peer thanked me for sharing encouragement with other beginner speakers. I’d like to share some here as well.

SOS: Starting Out Speaking Tips for Beginner Speakers

1. Speak whenever and wherever you can. The way you get speaking gigs is to speak, or as Speaker/Author/Success Coach Cheryl Pullins says, “Let them experience you.” Speak at churches, Bible studies, Rotary Clubs, MOPS meetings, workshops, and whatever door opens for you. Tell everyone you know that God put this desire in your heart and that you are now available for speaking and scheduling events. Email family and friends to let them know. Share about your availability at church, your kids’ schools or homeschool co-op, with neighbors, your husband’s co-workers, your best friend, and your in-laws.

Remember if you don’t take yourself seriously, they won’t either. It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks you aren’t “qualified” to speak. God is the one who has called, qualified, and anointed you! The good fruit from your life will be evidence to them after awhile. People can’t ignore the fact that doors are beginning to open for you from God!

2. Pray (being very specific) for speaking gigs. Jesus told His disciples, “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” (Matthew 21:22, NLT) How can you receive if you aren’t even asking?

Be specific in prayer and ask God for whatever number of speaking opportunities you desire per month or year. If this is really your gift and what God wants for you to do, you’ll get speaking opportunities as you walk in obedience to Him. Every speaking engagement I’ve ever received, they have come to me to ask me to speak! “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.”– Proverbs 18:16

3.  Speak for free. Initially you may have to speak for free. Yes, nada. I know, it burns, it burns! That is what I did, and what so many speakers do. Get your pride out of the way and first get some experience and credibility! You aren’t going to be paid the big bucks when you’ve only spoken a couple of times!

In fact, if your motive for speaking is the money, you might reconsider another career or ministry!  Yes, you can have a successful, profitable speaking business. But it takes TIME. And if money is your motive, it’s probably not going to work.

YES, I am a fiercely passionate advocate of Christian Speakers being paid. It makes me bristle when I hear people say that you shouldn’t “charge for your ministry.” Really? So every pastor in America needs to get another full-time job so they can earn a paycheck! Christian Speakers are one of the only professions/ministries I know of, who hear this objection to their pay. This is not just my ministry; it is my home business, my “career,” the way I am helping to bring in income to our family (you know, like the Proverbs 31 woman who bought a vineyard with her earnings!).

If you know a lawyer, doctor, CPA, nurse, preschool teacher or any other number of fields, you wouldn’t expect him or her to go to work and not get paid, would you? Then why is it any different for Christian speakers? This has always made me curious! I believe with all my heart what the Bible says, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18)

But when you’re first starting out, you may have to gain experience first before you can start charging. And sometimes, even after you’ve been doing this awhile, there may be situations where you still speak for free or for less than your normal fee, such as an honorarium or love offering.

After you’ve gained credibility and much experience, you have to make a decision about whether you are still willing to speak for free (or less than your fee, an honorarium, or a love offering). As my friend Diane says, “You can’t pick my brain for free because my brain is expensive! I’ve invested a lot of money into this brain, learning new things!” Sometimes the benefits you gain from the opportunity are better than money, such as the opportunity to travel somewhere new, the new audieence you may be reaching (which may mean even MORE speaking opportunities for you in the future), or greater exposure for your business.

4. Ask for testimonials right away after you speak from the church’s women’s ministry leader or the event planner.  That way you are freshly in her mind, and she will remember how well it went. Testimonials help to establish you as a reputable speaker. Canadian Speaker/Author Sheila Wray Gregoire has excellent advice for speakers on her blog, Becoming a Christian Women’s Speaker.

5. Be easy to work with for event planners. Please, please, don’t be a difficult, high-maintenance speaker. If you want to have a successful Speaking Business, you must be professional! Don’t whine about how few attendees are in the audience, the lousy mic or sound equipment, or the food the meeting planner serves you that you just can’t stomach.

Arrive in plenty of time for your speaking presentation, so the event planner isn’t biting her nails, wondering if she’ll have a no-show for her important event. Communicate when needed with the event planner after being hired so she won’t worry (without your boundaries being violated, which is another post!).

Have your bio printed out for her when you arrive, in case she forgot hers. I learned from Speaker Felicia Slattery several years ago that you do not want to start your speech with saying your name, talking about the weather or the building, or any other inane comment or you are going to instantly LOSE your audience. Those first few seconds are crucial to your audience tuning into you. Start and end your presentation with power!

Turn OFF your cell phone at the meeting and have your notes, visual aids or power point, Kleenex, and cold bottled water ready when she introduces you. You don’t want to be totally disorganized, sweating, and fumbling around with your index cards or papers, shouting, “Just a minute! I’ll be up there in a sec! I know I put that quote somewhere!”

Don’t be unreasonable and demanding of event planners, asking her to make 100 copies of your revised handout five minutes before you speak or to asking her to display 75 copies of your book on the back table just minutes before the meeting time so you can make more money there with back-table sales.  Be pleasant and polite to her and the attendees. Remember that interacting with your audience is key to success!

6. Dress for success. Please don’t show up in a short skirt or shorts and flip flops, or something more suitable for night clubbing with your cleavage generously spilling out. You also want to make sure that you don’t wear dated clothing or this can cause the audience to not be able to relate to you, and they won’t take you or your message seriously. Most importantly, be beautiful on the inside, preparing your heart with prayer!

A good rule of thumb for speakers is to dress one notch above the audience. A man wearing a black tux to a men’s retreat? A little much. A chic dress and wedge sandals at  a women’s retreat when the attendees are in jeans or pantsuits? That’s great. Some women are much more comfortable in pants when speaking.

On stage, it’s a good idea to wear more makeup than you usually do because your features tend to “disappear” from a distance. Someone on the back row can’t see your sheer pink lip gloss from where she’s sitting. You’ll look like you have no lips or very thin ones. Learn some tips from a makeup artist, such as outlining your eyes with darker eyeliner or outlining your lips before putting on lipstick or lipgloss. Make sure that at least your eyes and your mouth stand out with some pretty color.

A great tip I learned at Upper Class professional speakers’ training was to make sure my hair didn’t fall into my eyes or face as I looked down at my notes and spoke. Your audience will become distracted if they are thinking, “I really wish she’d get her bangs out of her eyes!” or you are hiding under a lion’s mane of permed hair. Be sure to have good hygiene (shower, bath, brushed teeth with fresh breath, clean hair) and a good hair style and cut.

7. Talk to the attendees before and after your presentation. A mistake I made last year happened when I had to rush off after a speaking event because I was flying out of town the next day. In retrospect, I should’ve stayed for the lunch they had prepared for the meeting and connected heart to heart with the women and the men there, talking to them. I had so much on my mind about my trip that I neglected to be fully present in the moment.

Actually, I love being able to pray with women after I speak to pray for their needs and to give them words of encouragement. This is often when the greatest ministry occurs.

If you seem unfriendly or unapproachable in some way, it could damage your credibility and reputation as a professional paid speaker. Smile, take pics with attendees, ask questions, pray with them, and listen intently to what they have to say. Don’t just try to sell yourself as a speaker or sell your books, but build relationships. You aren’t there just “to be in the limelight.”  You are there to serve God and them. Walk humble. You are there for God’s purpose on a Divine Mission. Make new friends!

These are just a few tips I have for you if you are starting out speaking. I’ll continue with more SOS tips in the week ahead. I’d love to hear your questions or for you to share about your own speaking experiences, both good and bad! Leave your comments below.

  Are you an event planner? Learn more about my Speaking by clicking here.

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