Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » Freshen Up: Part I

Freshen Up: Part I

You probably have a few rules about how you prepare to present yourself to the outside world. Some of us won’t leave the house without a shower while others raise the bar to lipstick and earrings as the bare minimum of being “presentable”.  (Southern girls, you know your mama told you not to go out without your earrings.)

If a friend asks us to run out for coffee spur of the moment, most of us would exclaim, “Just give me a minute to freshen up, and I’ll be right there!”

Do you feel that your messages or your messaging to event planners needs some freshening up? Have you thought about it lately?

Just a few weeks ago, I met with a friend who is a business consultant and bartered some time. She went through the Next Step site and gave me suggestions for improving and freshening up. I’m in the midst of working through her suggestions, and I’ll end this little series with tips on freshening your website. I was amazed how stale it had gotten without me taking notice!

Today, I want to start with a tip for freshening your messages.

Why would you need to re-work a message? Isn’t it ok to pull it out, dust it off, and deliver it again and again?

Very rarely.

I’m a big advocate for refreshing a message every time you use it. I occasionally realize one of my messages needs a major overhaul, but usually it’s just a matter of some tweaks. In this series, I’ll give you some ways to give old messages new life. Refreshing not only benefits your audience, but it also reignites your passion for them.

Week 1 Tip—Make sure your message has a sticky statement. 

A sticky statement is a sentence with a single, powerful truth. Your whole message should be wrapped around this one truth.

I said it this way to a small group working on messages… Pretend you’re doing an event that’s 45 minutes long. At the end of the message, you know that a fairy is going to come along and sprinkle dust on your audience, causing them to forget every profound sentence that’s fallen from your lips—except ONE.

[Tweet “What’s the one sentence you want your audience to remember when they forget all the others?”] That one sentence is your sticky statement.

Silly, right?

You should be able to express the main point of your message in one sentence, however. It’s hard. I know. You can have multiple points that back up that sentence, but there should only be one truth. This creates “sticky” messages—messages that stick with people long enough to change their lives.

Here are some great examples from speakers I love:

  • “Let God chisel.” ~Lysa TerKeurst
  • “Am I trying to be godly, or am I trying to be God?” ~Karen Ehman (Note: Usually I tell people that sticky statements can’t be questions. Karen’s works since it’s a rhetorical question with an embedded truth.)
  • “It’s like a thousand songs in your pocket.” ~Steve Jobs when he unveiled the iPod to a crowd of stockholders, reporters, and influencers.

A sticky statement is the key to making your message laser-like. It creates a message that’s focused and memorable.

Do you write your messages around a sticky statement? What can you share that you’ve learned as you’ve done this?

Amy

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for the confirmation. Every now and then, usually in a quiet moment or during prayer, I hear the Holy Spirit give me something that’s just a little different, or a lot different, from what I have been using (website – brochure – speaking). Then, it is the enemy that usually comes in with, “Oh, now you are changing what you wrote. Bad idea. You shouldn’t change your original material. If you change it now, people will think you are lying to them.” Not wanting to sound as if I were lying has been one of my big areas of weakness; and the enemy knows it. In the end, I always pursue the new ideas from the Holy Spirit. Nonetheless, I am sometimes teased with the enemy’s guilt-trip afterward. And I have even wondered, “Do other people change their material as time goes on? Am I the only one to do this? Is it alright to make such changes?” Your comments have made it easier for me to once and for all push all of the doubt away and fully embrace the Holy Spirit’s directives to me. A done deal. Peace at last!

  2. Amy,

    I just returned from a weekend women’s retreat and was so disappointed that the speaker was pulling her material from another project she was working on… There was a huge disconnect between the theme and the message we received.

    Made me wonder if that was actually the message God wanted her to share with our group or not. I’d like to think He had a particular message just for us. One woman confided in me that she felt like we were getting the leftovers…this other project was clearly the priority.

    I believe God’s given speakers wisdom and experience with certain topics and they should share from those, but I do expect they’ll spend time with Him refreshing and tweaking that talk specifically for each audience. God knows each group’s specific needs.

    Looking forward to the next post in the series!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Cyndee. These are HUGE words of caution for speakers.

      I’ve shared how God has taught me to love Him first followed by the women in the room. It straightens my motives and settles my nerves. 🙂 It also makes me feel the weight of responsibility to bring the message God has designed for the women in the room. I used to chafe under that weight a little, but now I’ve embraced it. If I don’t feel the weight, I move into my own self-sufficiency rather than seeking God.

      Thanks for reminding us of our true calling!

  3. It seems as I pray before I have had speaking engagements, God will give me the point to bring home to them. Sometimes he will remind me which poems to add which usually zero in on what it is I want them to remember.

    I try to be open to His leading. So even though it’s basically the same message, it’s really not. For only God knows the hearts of those who will hear it. Boy this is making me really miss speaking, it’s been a while.