When Prayer is the Best Preparation
Welcome to October’s addition to Ladder to Rooftop.
If you Write it You can Speak It.
An essential part of any good speech is the preparation in prayer.
I remember the first time I set out to give a talk—it was in front of the women’s group from my church who were coming over to my house for a Christmas holiday get together dinner (a delicious captive audience).
I made my debut…
And it was a disaster. 😦
But I did my due diligence and prayed before hand so I didn’t know what went wrong. Now looking back on that time I see how my motives were askew and my prayer was, well, all about me.
I had felt God calling me to speak a year and a half earlier and when He wasn’t moving on the calling (giving me any speaking events), I thought I’d help Him out by setting up my own speaking gig.
You see, God gave me this calling, yes but He wasn’t moving on it because my heart wasn’t ready for the responsibility and my prayers that particular night were the dead give away.
I was not only humbled, I was humiliated.
Speaking isn’t all about what we can do, it’s all about what God does through a humble heart, submissive to Him.
Slowly but surely in His timing God prepared my heart for this awesome task He had for me.
Today the prayers I lift up to heaven before a talk sound totally different and they feel totally different because they come from a different place—an empty space I ask God to fill with Him not me.
Weeks before an event up until I’m at the venue I pray:
For a heart submissive to the will of God.
For the Holy Spirit to speak His words not mine .
For each woman’s heart to perk up to the message God has for them.
That God would give me a love for each person present.
For God to help me deliver the message with accuracy.
And above all I pray for God to be glorified.
Recently my friend Kelly shared with me an article that was written about how author and pastor Francis Chan prepares for a talk. He asks himself 7 questions. These questions guide his pre-talk prayers. I thought these were so wise and on point that I wanted to share them with you.
He asks himself:
1. Am I worried about what people think of my message or what God thinks? (Teach with fear)
2. Do I genuinely love these people? (Teach with love)
3. Am I accurately presenting this passage? (Teach with accuracy)
4. Am I depending on the Holy Spirit’s power or my own cleverness? (Teach with power)
5. Have I applied this message to my own life? (Teach with integrity)
6. Will this message draw attention to me or to God? (Teach with humility)
7. Do the people really need this message? (Teach with urgency)
We can practice and prepare till the cows come home but if our hearts aren’t in the right place, subject to the will of God, we forfeit the best part of the experience—the power of the Holy Spirit at work.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Palm 51:7
When Things Go Wonky
Welcome to the July 2017 addition of:
If You Write It, You Can Speak It
When you are in front of an audience how do you make sure things don’t go terribly wrong?
Well, you can’t… totally.
But you can be as prepared as much as possible and be aware of your limitations. You would think this goes without saying but….I’ve learned the hard way.
Last year I was speaking for a women’s group with about 200 in attendance. The event coordinator asked me if I wanted to use their big screen for my Scripture verses like all the other speakers had that summer. I didn’t normally use a screen but I said, sure.
It was a disaster. The remote I was to use didn’t work. I had to stop my talk and have the sound guy progress the slide every time I needed it to be changed.
Can you say, disruptive?
You don’t have to be like everyone else. If you are asked to do something you’re not comfortable with,until you practice it, don’t do it. Just say, no thank you.
Check out the room or equipment ahead of time if possible.
I once had to use a lavaliere microphone that only worked if you were turned in one specific direction. I like to use visual aids and not realizing the problem with the microphone I put my visuals on the opposite side of the direction I needed to be in order for the mic to pick up my voice. In an effort to use my visuals and be heard at the same time, I felt a bit like Stevie Wonder swaying back and forth.
Can you say, awkward?
My advice today is to get as much information ahead of time about the venue, the audience and the equipment you are able to use. Oh, and pray, pray, pray!
At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how many things go haywire because God is bigger than projectors, screens, sound guys and microphones. He will get His message out. All to His glory.
We live and learn.
Welcome to the August edition of, If You Write It You Can Speak It. August 15, 2016
A Four Step Action Plan To Gain An Audience.
In the first issue back in May (scroll down to view),
In my first issue of, If You Write It You Can Speak It, I talked a little about my own journey, feeling called to speak and waiting on Gods’ training and timing.
Today I want to talk to you about the what next—your what next.
So you feel called by God to be a speaker. How do you find someone to speak to—gain an audience?
Early on when I was learning to write I interviewed a pastor’s wife for a post I was working on about perseverance (she was a marathon runner). During the interview this pastor’s wife asked me what I was passionate about? I told her I felt more called to speak than to write. And like so many others I shared this with, she asked me the obvious question.
“What kind of experience do you have?”
I don’t know why this time was any different but the question threw me for a loop. I should have expected the query. I wanted to make a good impression, so thinking at lightening speed (which I don’t do well), off the top of my head, I told her,
“Well, I’ve given eulogies at a few funerals.”
She cocked her head to one side and said, Eulogies? Funerals? As if to ask if such things qualify a person to speak.
And they don’t…necessarily.
But God does. And He qualified me when he called me—to testify about Him.
Oh how I wish I could have corralled those words and shoved them back into my mouth never to let them out again! Eulogies, ugh! Really? What was I thinking? I would never expect to gain an audience from her referral.
But I did tell the truth. And they were good eulogies. A speaker has to start somewhere. I failed to mention to her the Bible studies that I taught or my drama experience from college and after.
You see “speaking” is any time you speak in front of people. Your competence grows every time you get the opportunity to use your voice in front of an audience be it a funeral, Bible study or a large gathering for a women’s luncheon.
So how do you secure the opportunity? Garner an audience?
Try implementing these four strategies.
1. Educate yourself. Learn how to craft messages by going to writing/speaking conferences, listening to podcasts on the subject, joining a local Toastmasters, going and listening to other speakers, hiring a coach. I highly recommend Amy Carroll, Next Step Speaker Services. And when people ask about your experience you can tell them the time you’ve put into your education.
2. Network. Volunteer. Get involved. Let your friends know what God has called you to do. The best advice I ever got was again from Amy Carroll who suggested I write all my contacts and ask them if they knew anyone looking for a speaker and would they possibly recommend me. I won’t lie, this was hard for me especially after the pastor’s wife eulogy debacle conversation and initially having a couple of friends look at me like I had three heads. But the bottom line is the people who know you will be the initial ones to recommend you. So get out there and mingle.
3.Don’t miss the opportunities when they come your way. Don’t be like the guy on the rooftop who prayed to God to save him from the rising flood waters. After he perished and went to heaven he asked God, “Why didn’t you help me?” And God said, “I did. I sent you a guy in boat, and one in a helicopter but you refused to go, waiting for something better.”
Walk through every open door God makes available be it teaching a small Bible study, or leading a prayer group. Even if it’s not exactly what you wanted to do. Experience is priceless and your name will get around when you do a good job. And one open will lead to yet another.
4. Pray. Don’t let up. If God called you He will make it happen. Pray for opportunities expectantly, fervently and wait patiently to see Him work.
Now get ready for God to do great things through you! Amen.
Welcome to, If You Write It You Can Speak It. June 1, 2016
This month I’m excited to bring you an interview with the absolutely adorable Amy Carroll. Amy is a Proverbs 31 Speaker, writer, and author of Breaking Up with Perfect. She also coaches speakers through Next Step Speaker Services which she founded. From personal experience I can tell you Amy is extremely encouraging and generous. I hired her for a few coaching sessions couple of years ago and I was excited to pick her brain recently with questions that might help you as well.
Here we go….
Amy, how long have you been speaking?
Gosh, it’s hard to believe but I’ve been speaking for 12 years and I’ve been speaking for Proverbs 31 Ministries for 10 of those years so when I came on with them I was really green.
What is the number one question you get asked?
The number one question would be, where do you start? I tell people to start with a strong message. Echo one main truth.
What are the best stories to tell when speaking, light-hearted or deep?
Both are effective and needed. Laughter draws people together and so does sadness. Two of my favorite books on message delivery are Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath and Communication for a Change by Any Stanley.
How do you draw an audience in?
Draw them to the moment. They have to feel the need for the message. Create your talk with situations that apply to your audience. List “for instances”.
What if you have to speak for a very long time. How do you keep people engaged?
Create interactive moments with your audience, like question and answers in small groups, or a workshop with the 3 step Bible study tool using Scripture and application.
What is the best tip you received when you got started?
It was from Renee Swope who told me to create strong messages. Communicate the Gospel. Communicating well is a life-long learning process that you must continue to work at. Fancy marketing and a beautiful website are nice and may get you by initially but without a powerful, applicable message you’re dead in the water.
Who has made the biggest impact on your speaking career?
Lysa TerKeurst hands down. She is incredibly generous with She Speaks (her annual conference for speakers, writers, and leaders). She tells everybody how to do the things it took her years to learn. She cuts the learning curve in half.
Why do you think people would need a speaker coach?
Two reasons, and this is from the feedback I get from my clients.
1. Two minds are better than one. Because speaking is a learning process, it’s nice when you can have a collaborative effort working.
2. Accountability. It helps to have deadlines when you want to get something done. A coach gives you assignments and deadlines and holds you to them.
That is exactly what Amy did for me. I wanted to know whether I was headed in the right direction with my messages and the bonus of her coaching was we became friends in the process!
I want to thank Amy for being gracious with her time and leaving us with some valuable advice. If you want to know more about Amy and ask her about her coaching services check out Next Step Speakers Service and Amy’s website, AmyCarroll.org
I’ll see you next month. Until then keep looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and turn in your road.
May 1, 2016
Hi all, and welcome. If You write It, You Can Speak It, is a site for us speaker types who want to know the best way to
for God’s glory.
I invite you to come on over every month to read interviews with speakers and speaker coaches, as well as getting some helpful speaker tips.
This month I want to start with telling you how I came up with the tittle,
If You Write It, You Can Speak It.
As a little girl I loved being in front of people on a stage, any stage I could find. I planned skits for the neighborhood kids and parents in which I was of course, the director, producer, and lead actress. Later I took acting classes at the local Little Theater. I was president of the drama club in junior high and drama was my first (notice I said first) major in college.
But all things speaking (acting) got put on hold for marriage kids, sports and life. Tucked away and pretty much forgotten until…
At age fifty David and I made a job change that moved us to Tampa. One of his first assignments was to take his team to hear a group of motivational speakers. I tagged along. I was mesmerized at how these speakers could make my heart dance. I loved the way their words moved me.
It was in that auditorium on that day I felt God call me to speak into the hearts of women.
My first response was, what? I don’t know a soul in Tampa? I don’t know a thing about public speaking. I don’t know what I’d specifically speak on.
So many questions, so many gaps.
Instead of waiting for God to answer, I tried to fill in the gaps on my own. I joined Toastmasters and stayed in it just long enough to get a five-minute speech under my belt.
Next I took a Life Purpose Coaching Course, for credibility naturally, because who was I that anyone would listen to me?
As I was finishing up my Life Purpose Course I had to comment on the instructors blog in order to take the final test.
Ha! I didn’t even know what a blog was.
And I literally didn’t feel confident to string two comprehensible sentences together before this time nevertheless type them out (and by the way I still type by hunting ad pecking) but I did it, took the test and finished the course.
And like so many others I got the blogging bug and started on a writing adventure.
I thought, maybe writing is what I’m suppose to do.
But blogging didn’t ease my burden to speak.
My next step was to start owning my calling by verbally announcing to friends that God called me to speak. This was hard for me mostly because the response was always the same. Friends would look at me like I had three heads and ask, what kind of experience do you have?
What was I suppose to say, Junior high drama club?
It’s akin to going on a first job interview where the employer asks the same question and you think ( not say), you big dummy, how can I get experience if you don’t hire me?
Every petition I made to God about speaking seemed to bounce off the ceiling.
Why God have you called me to do something but not give me the means by which to do it? Instead, You allow the doors to slam in my face.
Month after month was the same. I was about ready to throw in the microphone, certain I heard God’s calling incorrectly when one morning in the quiet of my prayer time I heard God clearly say to my heart.
If you write it, you can speak it.
So I wrote.
And wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more.
It was many more months (a couple of years of perseverance actually) before the doors started opening. But they did, gradually, and now more steadily.
And I had something to say because it was already written.
Here’s my point. God let me know what He wanted me to do but that didn’t mean He was ready for me to do it. Like Joseph’s story in Genesis, God had work to do in me first—in my character, my commitment, my calling.
a nasty four letter word, but a necessary one for me.
That’s my story. But that doesn’t mean it is or will be that way for you. One thing I’ve learned that is true for all of us…
When God calls us, He will make a way for the call.
Join me next month for a surprise interview with a gifted speaker who knows the ropes and ins and outs of the speaking circuit. You won’t want to miss!
Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God,
If You Write It, You Can Speak It is a part of Jami Amerine’s Ladder to Rooftop Academy. Here Jami has loving put together tips to help with the learning curve of all things concerning writing, speaking and the like.