Amy Carroll » Speaking Tips » Making Your Messages Stick Part 2 (and a bonus!)

Making Your Messages Stick Part 2 (and a bonus!)

I’ll get to our regularly scheduled post in just a minute, but I’d like to tell you about our first contest in which you can win one of our services! The one of your choice–hurrah!  If you subscribe to our weekly tips, you are entered once.  If you complete a short survey, you are entered once.  If you do both, you’re entered twice.  Click here to take survey. 

I’m so excited to hear what you have to say!  Now, girls, this is on the honor system.  Please leave a comment below telling me if you did one or both with your name and email address.  Comments will be open for two full weeks.  On Tuesday, September 28th, I’ll pick the winner randomly.  The winner will be able to choose one of our services which is a value of up to $195!!  (I don’t mean to insult anybody’s intelligence, but until I figure out how to change it, you can get to the comments section by clicking on the title of this post and scrolling to the bottom.)

On to today’s post…Last week our key word was “simple”.  This week the key word borrowed from Dan and Chip Heath’s book Made to Stick is “unexpected”. 

The Heath brothers make this insightful comment, “Common sense is the enemy of sticky messages.  When messages sound like common sense, they float gently in one ear and out the other.”

So true.  I’m an avid reader, and I often find myself skimming and not truly reading.  Recently, though, I’ve been reading a series by Mary DeMuth.  Because her word choices are so unique and truly surprising, I’m pretty sure that I read every word and didn’t skim at all.

Chip and Dan explain that there’s actually a biological purpose for surprise.  When we are struck with anything unexpected, our brains react with surprise and latch on to information that will protect us from future unexpected events.  They say, “…surprise acts as a kind of emergency override…things come to a halt, ongoing activities are interrupted, our attention focuses involuntarily on the event that surprised us.”

How do we create surprise in our messages?  We avoid cliches and think of new and fresh ways to say things.  Choose examples that are counter-intuitive.  Tell stories with unexpected endings.  Create tension with mystery and stories that pique your audience’s curiosity.  One way to do the last thing is to begin a story at the beginning of your talk and end it later.

These are just a few ideas to create the unexpected in your messages.  This chapter in the book is chock full of stories and examples.  My favorite is what Nora Ephron’s journalism professor did to his class.  The way he used surprise changed the course of her life and made her want to be a writer, so don’t miss it!

Don’t forget to leave your comment if you subscribe or do the survey.  Thank you, thank you for helping us make this the best speaker service ever!


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  1. I just realized that we were supposed to tell you if we filled out the survey and and signed up for your weekly tips. I did both! 😉 I’m really getting some great information from your blog posts… thank you!

    Sweet Blessings!
    Sharon Bowman

    P.S. My website is a work in progress… and I haven’t posted on it in a year. With the death of our son and some other events (that I’d love to share with you!) I’ve had to put it on hold. I’m excited to get it up and running again soon!

  2. Hey!
    I finally had time to sit down and read the posts!!! Such great information!! I can’t wait to visit…over and over again!!

  3. Okie Dokie I’ve done both….survey and signed up for free tips 🙂 This is Great what you’re doing! I’m excited!! 🙂

  4. I really appreciate all of this help. i signed up for the blog & also completed the survey. Thanks for making these opportunities available.

  5. Julie Reagan says:

    Very gracious of you! filled our your survey and signed up for the free tips! i didnt put this on my survey but blogging tips might be helpful as well.

  6. I took the survey! Thank you so much for the chance to hear a fresh word of teaching. I love to learn how to speak, lead or just plain communicate better in a very complicated universe! God’s challenging us all, I take it, to offer our words and lives for His Glory and to restore others.
    I enjoy the speakers at the Women of Faith conference each year, and cannot tell you how much my heart and life is recreated with a desire to help other ladies find their gifts and grow in their personal faith walk.
    GOD BLESS you all. xoxo

  7. Kelli Wommack says:

    So glad to finally have some sisters share their expertise about speaking! Thank you. I completed the survey AND I subscribed to the post. How I would love to win!!!!

  8. Ann Marie Peterson says:

    Subscribed to the blog and filled out the survey. I think you are providing valuable services.

  9. hey there, i just subscribed to the blog and filled out the survey. this is awesome! thanks! looking forward to the next steps calls next week! xo

  10. I completed both. Thanks for the tips!

  11. Thanks so much for your ministry to those who desire to speak out for God! I subscribed for the updates and completed the survey. Hope to hear from you soon!

  12. Cheryl Hill says:

    I subscribed and took the survey! Thanks for the blog and your continued support after She Speaks!

  13. A great addition to the conference & the Next Step calls. I have completed both items. A special thank you to each beautiful face behind the P31 ministry.

  14. Jen Allee says:

    Great blog! I subscribed to both offers and look forward to possibly winning something! Thanks!

  15. This comes at a good time for me. I attended your excellent She Speaks Conference in 2009, but have not made the progress in marketing that I’d hoped. However, my messages are more focussed than they used to be, and I’m much more aware of structure, etc. Thank you.
    I also do spiritual growth retreats which have an element of presentation tied in with group process (not merely question and answer format) so I don’t aim for a tight presentation. Thus my needs are a little different.
    I took your Next Steps after that Conference. This contact makes me want to back, reread, and apply my notes! I’m happy to see that we can purchase services for each area of need, and that you offer a discount for those who’d like to focus on more than one area.
    May the Lord continue to bless you and your equipping ministry.

    I took the survey and subscribed to the blog. Thank you for this opportunity. I’d love some feedback on my blog too!

  16. Selynda Vass says:

    I appreciate your ministry and look forward to seeing how God provides so I can utilize your wisdom! I subscribed and I took the survey.
    Selynda Vass

  17. I was so disappointed to miss She Speaks this year, so I really appreciate the email sent to me about this site. It is wonderful and so timely for me, as I am more actively pursuing my speaking ministry now. So far I’ve loved all the posts and will be sure apply these tips.
    I answered the survey and subscribed. I plan to share this site with some friends.
    Thanks for entering me in the contest.

  18. Kim Knight says:

    Thank you for the book suggestions and for the offer. I have taken advantage of both the blog subscription and a comment. May God bless you in this ministry of helping women share His Word with the world.


  19. Signed up for the tips email, and took the survey. Thanks for this ministry. God bless you in this new endeavor.

  20. Love the blog and the tips you shared. How fascinating about the element of “surprise” and the part it plays in keeping our audience. I would really love to get in on the services and would be thrilled to win the privilege.

    I subscribed to the tips, and I took the survey.

    Julie Sanders

  21. Hey Amy & Karen,
    I subscribe to the weekly tips, and I completed the survey. I really liked your feed back on Andy Stanley’s book on your previous blog. I read it after “She Speaks” a few years ago and your comments were a reminder to me and another perspective on their study of “Communication For Change.”

    I also was encouraged by the key word borrowed from Dan and Chip Heath’s book Made to Stick is “unexpected”. I have a joke I like to tell when I do a certain talk that has a twist in it. It works well. I need to find more jokes that twist.
    Thank you for doing this blog!!!

  22. I love this site, thank you for sending an email about it! I subscribed to emails and did the survey!

  23. Thank you for the great infomation. I did the survey and signed up for the weekly tips, so enter me twice.

  24. Thanks for entering me in your giveaway. Woo Hoo! I’d love the chance to learn from you all. I first heard about this opportunity at She Speaks this summer. What a fabulous idea!!

    I am signed up to receive your e-mails.
    I also completed the survey.

    Thanks so much!
    Cindy 🙂

  25. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us! I am thrilled to have this resource. I also completed the survey and subscribed to the weekly tips. (I need lots of help!) I am currently reading Andy Stanley’s book and have found it to be spot on. I can’t wait to get “Making It Stick”. I thought I was ‘only’ going to be a writer but God has opened the door to a speaking opportunity. Right now I am trying to prepare to the best of my current ability but I am like a sponge soaking up all I can so I can keep improving. So much for comfort zones, huh?

  26. Thanks for the great tips. I stumbled across the site by accident or divine appointment rather and I’m sure I’ll be visiting often. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win as well!

  27. I did both! Your new services are very exciting. I have complete faith in anything that bears the P31 name. Love you guys!

  28. I subscribed to your blog today and completed the survey. Thank you for making these services available!

  29. I have signed up for the daily tips and taken the survey! I enjoy this ministry very much and adding this platfrom is a really good idea!!

  30. Monica Smith says:

    Thanks for the notification and the opportunity for more training. What a great service! I was already set up to receive the blog messages, so I just completed the survey.

    Be blessed,

  31. My first time checking out your site and services. Impressed! I filed for new emails and did the survey and will check your blog more often. Thanks for helping out your sisters!

    Lisa T

  32. God has used the ministries of Proverbs 31 to give me that extra “push” to step out as a speaker and a writer. I can’t wait to see how He will use these tips to bless, encourage and strengthen so many of us as we walk in obedience to God’s call upon our lives.

    I have subscribed and taken the survey.

  33. I did both. Thank you for this next step.

  34. I completed the survey and signed up for updates. I am soon to have a book published, and now I need to learn how to be an effective speaker. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from you!

  35. I subscribed! Tried to take the survey and for some reason my computer wouldn’t let me. I’ll try again and come back to comment if I’m able to complete it.

  36. Thank you for doing this. My first book is being published in a few months and the speaking engagements are starting to come in. I want to be prepared to take ALL the land for Him!

    **Please put my name in the drawing twice. I signed up for emails and completed your survey!**

    May the Lord bless you all.

  37. I subscribed and completed a survey. Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to the speakers tips from the blog. I’m always ready to gain insights on better communcating for God.

  38. Thanks for the great work for the Kingdom!! I did both things – subscribed and took the survey. :o)

  39. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win! (took the survey and registered) Thanks more so for the advice and words of wisdom!!
    [email protected]

  40. Shea Minoughan says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to grow in wisdom! I have subscribed and completed the survey!

  41. took the survey and registered to receive your updates…Thanks for this opportunity

  42. Becky Johnson says:

    Thank you for the tips and the opportunity. We had Karen speak at our Women’s Retreat a couple of years ago and I would someday love to develop the skill she displayed…

  43. Signed up for tips and completed survey. Great idea!

  44. Hi there!
    This is my first time here, and I completed the survey and subscribed for tips. Thanks, for the chance to win, and thanks for helping us be the best we can be for Jesus!
    Debbie Giese

  45. I have completed the survey and signed up for the tips. I would love to win. Thanks for the chance.

  46. I am subscribed and confirmed, plus the survey has been completed. Thanks so much for the tips on your blog!

  47. I love the Speaker Tips that I receive by email each week. They are so helpful! I am so glad that you are doing them…thanks!

    I am subscribed and I completed the survey! Yay!

  48. I did both, too.

    I love your blog. I am not a “busy” speaker, but I do want to be an excellent communicator. I want to focus and refine my message, and have impact for the Kingdom and for the particular cause I speak about. I have no idea what’s next for me, but I want to improve and I want to be ready for anything that comes.

    xo, H.

  49. I completed the survey and signed up for weekly tips. The Proverbs 31 Ministry has helped me so much over the years. Each one of you have inspired me to reach for my dreams. Since following your ministry, I have stepped out and written and published a book. I have started and maintained a women’s Bible Study for almost 3 years and I have had the opportunity to speak at and plan various retreats. I could not have had the confidence without the boost that P31 gives me! Thanks to all of you lovely ladies for giving me the courage to follow in the path that God has planned for me. Y’all are awesome!

  50. I saw this resource at She Speaks. I think this is an incredible way to help equip, encourage, and sharpen women who are called into this thing called, ministry. As you pour out, may God pour back in to you a double portion.


  51. Hey I completed the survey and signed up for weekly updates. Thanks!

  52. Thank you so much for this opportunity to win. I have subscribed and completed the survey. As someone that has struggled with depression and survived several suicide attempts I feel God has called me to show and teach women (especially young women) how special and how loved they are by God. Again thank you for the chance to live out Gods calling.

  53. I am really enjoying this site. Your blogs are right on!!!!! Thank you for allowing God to use you both in this area to bless others. I took the survey and ordered the books you mentioned above…seems like every speaker should have them:-) Blessings!!!! Silvia

  54. I am enjoying this site and all the useful information you are so generously sowing into our lives. I signed up for the tips and took the survey. I’m looking forward to learning so much more from you both. Thanks for doing this! Warmest blessings, Kimberly

  55. I just found your website and what a blessing. It is such a gift to have access to help in ministry. Thank you for sharing your gifts and talents to help others develop theirs. I signed up for the daily tips and took the survey.

  56. The tips have been very helpful. I’m subscribed and completed the survey. Thanks for the opportunity! Blessings!

  57. I completed the survey and subscribed to your weekly updates. I am feeling God’s calling on my life to lead and teach. Currently I lead the women’s ministry at our church. Sometimes I just don’t feel adequate to teach or lead. I know everything comes from God and he will provide the words for me to say. Thank you Jesus for leading me to this website.

  58. Survey completed and subscribed for the tips! Thanks for this great offer. (Hope I win…) 🙂

    1. Thanks for this great opportunity. Regardless of if I win or not (oh please!!!!!) this site has been extremely helpful.
      I took part in both winning opportunities. Thanks again!