She Speaks is almost here!
I have to confess to ya’ll that I have a little, bitsy problem. I’m obsessed with my own birthday. I know. I know. That’s so narcissitic that your opinion of me has probably dropped into the basement. It’s just that my mom let me choose all my favorite foods, baked a yummy cake and really treated me like a princess for the day… I digress (and it’s not nice to blame your mama for your narcissim).
What I meant to tell you is that I love She Speaks so much that it has surpassed my birthday. That’s a huge deal as you can tell.
For the next few weeks, I want to give tips for getting ready for She Speaks. For those of you not attending this year, I promise to write these so that you’ll have something practical to take away too.
My number one, most important tip is to remember that you are in the spiritual battle of your life! The good news is that you can win.
I’ve covered this thought in this post, so I won’t cover old ground. I just want to encourage you to start each day with Jesus, reminding yourself of who He is and who you are to Him. Fill yourself with truth and pray through the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6. Don’t forget to pick up that shield of faith to extinguish Satan’s fiery darts, because I guarantee that they’ll be flying.
Speaker Girls, Satan hates that you love Jesus and want to share Him with others. He will use any opportunity to speak lies about your calling and abilities. He’s not above causing conflict in your relationships to distract you. This is war! I didn’t recognize the battle the first year I attended She Speaks, and the war took a toll that it never should have. Here’s my story.
If you’ll recognize it as such, you’ll arrive at She Speaks with a few of the normal nerves, but your spirit will be strong.
Fight the fight, Speaker Girls!
I’d like you to to meet my friend and fashionista extraordinaire Holly Ladner. She’s so much more qualified to write the next tip–What She Wears to She Speaks. Welcome, Holly!
Hello! It is such an honor to share with you today. If you’re like me, you are thrilled to read what today’s tip is all about. Figuring out what to wear to any event seems to be something we all girls struggle with. I have a few tips that might help you as you prepare for the weekend.
I remember getting ready for my first time at She Speaks….I was nervous and couldn’t decide what in the world to wear. What does “business casual” look like? Can I wear my “nice” jeans? Will people be wearing dresses or pants? It’s hot outside, but what about inside the hotel? These shoes are cute, but they kind-of hurt my feet…I wonder if I should “grin & bear it”? These are some of the questions you may have asked yourself as you are getting ready to attend She Speaks.
First, don’t go shopping. You probably already have what you need right in your closet (or your girlfriend has it – borrow it!)
Second, yes, it’s hot outside, but it can get cold inside the hotel rooms. Plan to wear layers so that you will be comfortable no matter what the temperature. A camisole, a blouse, and a light-weight sweater is an example of how you can create an outfit with options.
Third, business casual means dress pants, trouser jeans, skirts, and dresses. Think “snappy casual” – girly, fun, and comfortable. Leave your “comfy jeans” and beach flip flops at home. Plan your outfits, including shoes and accessories, trying it all on at home. (Cute shoes are great, but make sure you can wear them all day. There is nothing worse than sore feet to distract you!)
Lastly, clothe yourself to meet the Lord…because He will meet you there. Plan your outfits so that He would be honored and you will be beautiful!
I hope this helps as you plan to pack for She Speaks. We had so many emails last year from women stressing about their wardrobe. Our team will think you’re beautiful NO MATTER WHAT, because we already love you. Above all, don’t go into debt to dress or your husband will never let you come back! (I was lucky enough to shop out of Holly’s closet last year!!)
Although this tip is aimed at participants in Speaker Evaluation Groups, it’s advice that’s changed my speaking for the better overall.
Last week on the She Speaks Attendees 2011 Facebook page, there were some questions about the 5 minute presentations. How in the world are you supposed to share anything in that amount of time? I feel your pain! There’s a way to still make an impactful message in that short time, however. Here’s the key:
There should only be one main point.
I actually write my 45 minute messages with one main point now. I was introduced to this idea through Andy Stanley’s book Communicating for a Change. I know I reference this book all the time, but I promise I’m not getting any kind of commision from Andy. 🙂 I just think it’s a must read for speakers.
For every message I create, I ask myself, “If my audience doesn’t remember anything else, what is the one thing that I want them to take away from our time together?” I then work on crafting one concise, memorable sentence that is the linch-pin of my message.
Our Lysa is the master of creating these sentences. Her Friday night message from She Speaks last year is a perfect example. She created a sentence that stuck with me all year–“Your reactions determine your reach.” Lysa had Bible teaching, powerful personal stories and application points that all illustrated and illumined this theme. Having that one memorable point helped me to remember the majority of her message, and it’s changed the way I think as I faced adversity this year.
If you will craft that “one thing” for each message, it’s much easier to see how to weave your story around it. In Made to Stick, the Heath brothers emphasize this point about the “one thing”: It should be simple in the way a proverb is simple. A proverb is easy to remember but profound and filled with meaning.
Here’s the order that I usually create a message:
- Pray–Asking God to show me in His Word where He wants to teach the audience.
- Study–Study that passage in depth. I want to start with what God has to say before I have my say!
- Create–Start working on my “one thing” sentence. Sometimes it’s rewritten over and over before it works.
- Write–Write the rest of my message with the scripture and “one thing” as my focus.
I hope this helps! If you’d like to ask any questions about the speaker eval groups, feel free to do it in the comments, and I’ll try to address all of them.
Onward to this week’s tip…
Be prepared for God to link you with other women who will love you, support you and want to do ministry with you.
I’ve really never seen anything quite like it. Every year our team watches in amazement as God supernaturally joins women who develop long-lasting friendships and ministry partnerships.
Let me give you a couple of examples. In my first year leading a speaker eval group, I had a group of women predominately in their 30s-40s. In a group of 12 women, 5 were young widows. Their stories linked their hearts, and they offered tremendous support to each othes. That same year, our “random” groups all seemed to have trends. One group also had a large number of women who had experienced rape.
Two years ago I had two women in my group who had experienced parenting a child with cancer. Those two women sat “randomly” at dinner one night with a table of eight women. If I’m remembering correctly, 6 of the 8 had lived through the same trial. Those women formed a blog for mothers who were experiencing walking the journey of having a child with cancer.
This phenomenon is just one of many She Speaks miracles. As if the comradery of 600 like-visioned women isn’t enough, God seems to delight in joining women together in tight bonds that lend comfort and ministry to others beyond She Speaks.
Pray for it and then be ready and watchful! Do any of you have a story from previous years about God bonding you with another woman?
I love a women’s conference! There’s nothing quite like being with a group of friends, learning something new and having time just to soak it all in.
As I see it, there’s only one down side to a conference; it’s usually just too much information to process. The saying “like drinking water from a fire hose” is completely applicable.
She Speaks definitely falls in this category, so how can you come away without getting a case of overload shutdown? You know what I mean. It’s that phenomenon when you can’t even begin to think of where to start, so you just never get started at all. It’s easy to leave with big dreams and high hopes and then sink into discouragement when the rush of the weekend is over. Pursuing the dream starts to look too complicated or too far away.
Here’s a simple, practical tip to help avoid this pitfall. Make an Action Item List during the conference. In each breakout session, listen for 1 or 2 actions that you want to take based on what you’ve learned. On a separate piece of paper, compile these actions into a list.
Once you get home, prayerfully narrow the list if you need to and prioritize the items. Then you can tackle one action at a time. (And I’m a girl who LOVES to check things off a list. Don’t forget the checks!) Dreams come true one step at a time.