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women in business

ibloom in Business cover
Blog, Coaching, Faith, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Writing

Ibloom in Business book

ibloom in Business cover

ibloom in Business cover

This week I found one of the best books I’ve ever read on building a successful business as a Christian woman entrepreneur, ibloom in Business: Equipping You To Build a Successful Business While Living a Life You Love by Kelly Thorne Gore.

You can buy it at the ibloom website by clicking on this link: iBloom Website. Just scroll down the page and you will see it on the right sidebar.

I love¬†Kelly and I love everything about this book. The content is so yummy – solid, practical¬†advice and tips to help you learn how to become a smart, savvy¬†biz owner, and shared in Kelly’s upbeat, encouraging voice.

It’s so true that we¬†judge a book by its cover, and the cover is so cute with the flower bloom in the word “ibloom” and the colored tabs on the¬†right side. I love the slick cover.

I was delighted to read Kelly’s comments recommending self-publishing vs. traditional publishing on page 66. In case, you think self-published books don’t do as well as traditionally published books, it’s listed as Amazon’s Bestseller¬†#1 for Entrepreneurs (#4 for all Business books and #25 for nonfiction).

Kelly shares her personal journey of how she started in business in the intro, and “with the heart of a girlfriend and the accountability of a drill sergeant,” she guides you through the steps she has walked to achieve her own successful business at ibloom.

She includes exercises you can do, writing in the book, such as discovering your brilliance zone, what next step you want your client to take, and your plan for success – how you’ll be celebrating one year from today with what you’ve achieved in your business.

What I love about Kelly is that she goes to God first for her business success. She writes on page 17, “The most important part of my day is my quiet time each morning. I think of it as the most important business meeting of my day. This is the time I’ve set aside to deepen my relationship with Christ. I spend time listening to worship music, praising Him, reading His word, praying, listening, and just being still.¬†Did you know that if you ask God to speak to you, He will? This was and is still mind blogging to me.¬†The God of the universe wants to have a conversation with me! And, with YOU!”

*This is an affiliate link. I only recommend products or services that I have used myself or that I truly believe in.

shy girl speaking
Blog, Faith, Spiritual Gifts, Travel

SOS: Starting Out Speaking for Beginner Speakers (Intro Tips)

This is part 3 of my blog series on public Speaking. You can read part 2, SOS: Starting Out Speaking For Beginner Speakers , here.

You’re on stage, smiling and energized. You’re prayed up. You know your story and have gone over your notes many times, so you feel ready. Your bottle of cold water and visual aids are on the little table by the podium within easy reach. Sound has been checked. The audience is attentive, leaning in, eager to hear what you’ll have to say because they’ve heard about this event.

You open your mouth and out it comes, “Wow, it’s so much hotter here than it is in Kansas City! Well hi ya’ll, I’m Beth Jones and I’m so excited to be here today! I want to thank Sherry for inviting me here.”

NO, NO, NO!

Your opening and ending lines are critical to a successful speaking presentation! Don’t start talking about the weather, the building, or introducing yourself with your name and¬†trivia¬†about your family! (Ask me how I know these things?! I’m learning from my mistakes.)

You want to immediately grab them, not lose the energy in the room. That first impression and the first few seconds are vital for the rest of your speaking presentation.

Here’s a few tips for a great intro to quickly engage your audience:

  • Share a great story. This can be funny or not, but make it relevant to your audience and to your topic. Sounds obvious, but if you want to be a speaker, make sure you have something interesting to say! Stories interest people. Jesus told parables to teach. When I attended CLASServices professional speakers’ and writers’ training, speaking legend Florence Littauer talked about the power of story and demonstrated it well with her hilarious but poignant stories, such as how different hers and her husband Fred’s personalities were. She’s a flamboyant Sanguine who loves to talk and to have fun. Fred was a moody melancholy¬†who only became excited when half a school wing burned down. Nothing short of tragedy moved him and he liked to focus on the negatives.¬†( Personality Plus, Florence Littauer, p. 108) Draw in your audience with a good story in your intro.
  • Ask a question. Frame it in a way that people know exactly what you want. If you are talking about fear of public speaking and ask them to raise their hand if they’ve ever experienced this fear and what bodily symptoms they get that shows they’re nervous, they’ll know what you mean and will be able to answer quickly, “Sweating, rapid heartbeat, feeling faint or nausea, dry mouth, etc.” etc. Make sure your question isn’t vague. Use their answers so they’ll want to continue contributing¬†and never humiliate them with the answer they gave. Asking a question stimulates the audience and connects you with them. Don’t make the question too obvious, too complicated, or too deep theologically/philosophically¬†or you’ll get the blank stares and an awkward silence. You want them to be able to answer so you connect.
  • Use an inspirational quote. A great quote can jumpstart you into your topic immediately. Quotes from Christian leaders such as Zig Ziglar or John Maxwell or author Maya Angelou are good examples. ‚ÄúWe delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.‚Ä̬†– Maya Angelou. Sharing that quote might be the perfect intro for you to share your story of childhood sexual abuse and how you overcame that tragedy to become healed and empowered through your faith in Christ, and the way God is using you today to minister to women who have gone through that same pain.
  • Start with a current event (or popular person) or something another speaker said. When I spoke at Doreen Penner’s women’s retreat in Canada, Doreen, Karen Wells, and I¬†referred to each other during our presentation times. It united us¬†and connected the audience with us.¬†Popular news items will hook your¬†audience right away. ¬†If you speak about gun control or how the cardinals are electing a new pope, or about Beyonc√© lip syncing at the Inauguration, most people will have at least a little idea of what you’re talking about and will be engaged immediately.

These are just a few tips for your speaking presentation intro. I hope you’re enjoying these SOS Speaking Tips for Beginner Speakers. I’d love to hear your comments about what you think of this topic below. What’s the best or worst intro at a speaking engagement you’ve ever heard – or have¬†done yourself?!

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. ūüôā

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‚Äôs 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.