Aug 312011

I’ve heard it said that you learn to teach by teaching. You learn to preach by preaching. “Practice makes perfect.” I’d say that practice does help. And some other resources can help too, like a personal coach and looking at a broader range of samples than just a few favorites. As someone who does public speaking once in a while, I’m realizing the process is discovering your strength in speaking with your own voice and style.

Dave Stone’s Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators [unfortunately, out of print; cf. preview excerpts in Google Books] is a phenomenal book that describes 13 different preaching/teaching styles: Creative Storyteller, Direct Spokesperson, Scholarly Analytic, Revolutionary Leader, Engaging Humorist, Convincing Apologist, Inspiring Orator, Practical Applicator, Persuasive Motivator, Passionate Teacher, Relevant Illustrator, Cultural Prophet, and Unorthodox Artist. And he deconstructs seasoned communicators like Zig Ziglar, Max Lucado, Chuck Colson, Max Lucado, Lee Strobel, Franklin Graham, Kirbyjon Caldwell, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, Tim Keller, Gene Appel.

Another book that’s coming in January 2012 looks really promising = Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers by Simon Vibert [cf. table of contents] with color commentary on preaching by Tim Keller, John Piper, Nicky Gumbel, Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, John Ortberg.

Just hearing and reading what they preach is one thing. To get an explanation of how they’re crafting their words and preparing their delivery — now that’s gold!

And, there’s Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body, and Animation in Proclamation by Teresa L. Fry Brown (cf. Table of Contents, Introduction, Chapter 1) and Preaching to a Shifting Culture: 12 Perspectives on Communicating that Connects, edited by Scott M. Gibson, has a collection of essays about issues related to contextualizing, i.e. preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures, utilizing the “Speech Act” theory in preaching, the message of the Kingdom of God, sermons that connect to the atonement of Christ, importance of authorial intent, argumentation and structure, knowing your audience, psychology and mindset, globalization and authority.

On the occasion when your public speaking can be enhanced with visuals, the 2 bestselling books on presentations are — Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Garr Reynolds) and Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Nancy Duarte).

I loved watching the recent talk about WordPress by Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word, with a beautiful set of slides. The ideating behind the making of those slides of Michael Pick’s thought processes is also a fascinating read. See the slides for yourself.

Aug 252011

Being a conference junkie and having gone a few rounds with ‘em, my top-of-mind advice is to go to a conference with a team & don’t go to a conference alone. There’s so much more value to attending the conference together so you get that team-building value, time to be off-site, time to gain perspective away from the normal context, time to learn together, time to take ideas back home together, and hit the ground running.

Too often, people go to a conference alone, get all jazzed about an idea, but have the hardest time getting the idea across to the others since the people back home didn’t hear and experience the conference. Talk about hitting the brick wall. Yeah, there’s some value for getting inspired and/or recharged. There’s so much more value when you can take ideas home to implement and turn it into reality!

That’s why I love the way Sticky Teams 2.0 is encouraging teams to come. Registration fee is $269 (early bird rate ends 9/2) and the registered person gets to bring 2 others for free! And the conference organizers, who I got to meet earlier this week, are anticipating the event to sell out soon. Only 130 seats left at the time of this writing. (Aside: I like seeing that real-time seating countdown.)

And, I’ll be there myself. I’m doing a breakout session on social media –

DJ Chuang | How to Go from Potential to Mastery in Social Media
There’s more to social media than putting a Twitter and Facebook icon on all your communications. But it doesn’t have to overwhelm you or take up all of your time. Learn how to increase your social media proficiency, become the master of your online reputation, and expand your ministry impact worldwide.

Would love to connect with you there! And in addition to my session, you might also want to hear Mark Driscoll and Larry Osborne :)

Aug 182011

This article “New Voices, New Directions” (by Tim Willard and Lindy Lowry @LindyLowry) in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Outreach Magazine opens with:

“From pastors to social justice advocates to musicians and artists, the evangelical landscape brims with young leaders striving not for the limelight, but to cast a light…”

New Voices, New Directions” introduces 30 emerging influencers who are reshaping leadership itself. Outreach Magazine partnered with Catalyst Director Brad Lomenick to assemble this list ::

Tyler Merrick
Eugene Cho
Chris & Phileena Heuertz
Sedgwick Davis
Katie Davis
Jonathan Merritt
Charles Jenkins ^
Isaac Hunter
Tommy Kyllonen
Ryan Meeks
Bryan Loritts
Herbert Cooper
Esther Fleece @EstherFleece
Jenni Catron
Jo Saxton
Bethany Hoang
Hannah Song
Ralph Castillo ^
Charles Lee
Jeff Shinabarger
Jonathan Olinger
Esther Havens
Jon Tyson;
Darren Whitehead
Zach Williams
Amena Brown
Jeremy Cowart
Jenny White
Jaeson Ma
Tim Willard @endveneer

(The article is not available online; you can order a copy of the printed magazine for $6.95.)

Aug 182011

I confess I’m not the most active user of Google+, the new social network that’s currently in private beta, or so-called “field trial”, with already over 25 million users… and probably a majority of Google+ people are already active on other social media. And what makes a social network great is both the people and the technology’s features/ functions. For Google+ to have a smaller feature set, and using that magical number “3″ to frame its features (circles, hangouts, sparks), it’s looking to be the next big thing (and seasons for a social network’s popularity ebb and flow, a la Friendster, MySpace, Facebook…), btw, here’s a free invite to Google+

What’s great about Google+ is how it’s easy-to-use for sharing stuff, be it a status update, a link, a photo, a video (especially YouTube)… and to share that in select circles (or select individuals). And I do like to share. There are 3 things that are missing for me, and how I’d like to use Google+

1. search. Yes Google is the king of search. I’d want to search my own stream, or a stream of one of my circles, or all my streams. There are things I remember seeing on my stream but want to get back to it more quickly than scrolling back to try to find it. (there are some hacks + workarounds)

2. filter. I don’t keep Google+ open in a web browser all the time, so I kinda miss hours of stream shares at a time. I don’t want to scroll back to see everything, but I do want to catch when certain topics or keywords get mentioned. What if Sparks could be applied to just my stream and/or certain ones of my circles?

3. my +1′s. From what I can tell, +1′s adds to the count of people who liked a certain shared item. Good that the person who shared it knows how many +’s and subsequent users who see that shared item. What I’d also like to see is a stream of items I have +1′d. That’d be a good bread crumb trail of goodies I would like to reference, or even to share that. [update: aha! found my +1's listing - thank you Google!]

There you go, three of my thoughts about Google+. For more about the latest, check in with these blogs: the official Google blog, the official Google+ platform blog, unofficial Google Plus blog.

Plus, for fans of group video chat, find an open hangouts + connect with new people spontaneously at: + + +

Aside: when the name of something is difficult to type or has more than one way to identify it, that does make for some challenges.. so on a keyword search, does one search for Google+ or Google Plus? One thing I kept running into with my work at L2 Foundation was gently informing people that it’s “L-Squared” and not elle-two. Such as it is when you can’t superscript in plain text.

Aug 112011

Summer wraps up its hey days. September comes around to launch a new school year. Setting the pace of life back to that normal routine for 9 months.

Now I find myself blogging at a different pace: it’s looking like once or twice a week for this season of life. In the past, The pace I liked to have for my blogging is 2 to 3 posts per week.

(What is a good rhythm of blogging? As a point of reference, I typically advise people to not start blogging if s/he cannot make a blog post at least once a week. I know there are people out there more in the professional blogging realm that blog every weekday in a very disciplined manner. For business- and goal-oriented people, that’s a good thing to do.)

With 12 years of blogging, I’ve certainly not exhausted topics to be blogging about. I’m not considering pulling the plug. This blog started as a personal endeavor and will remain so. Just a place where I can share (a part of) my life and to connect with people far beyond my geographical limitation. Yes, I have a wide eclectic range of topics of interest.

All this to say, not all that much is changing here. Just a change of pace. Add a comment with a topic you’d love to see me blog about. And I’ll queue it up for next week.

Aug 062011

Jesus said “… when I was in prison, you visited me.” I confess I’m missing out on a glimpse of Jesus since I have not yet ever visited someone a prison. By grace I don’t personally know anyone there, and of course that’s not the point. When it comes to following Christ, it means so much more to be altruistic and doing good for total strangers and not only for people you know, family, and/or friends.

A social marketing friend Jim Gray is running a campaign this week for God Behind Bars a new ministry for those in prison for a season. God Behind Bars partners with churches and faith-based organizations to stream live worship experiences into prisons all over the world. And, they’ve got an online campus called “Church With Inmates” that allows the families of prisoners to see and experience the same service that their loved one is watching from inside the prison. One more “wall” that’s broken down. 92% of inmates serve their time and are release back to society. So keeping them connected with society in this spiritual dimension is certainly important, and good for everyone.

Another part of the world that’s isolated from the public is the online world of Google+, in many ways yet another social network. (How’s that for a segue?) If you’re on the outside looking in and want to get an account and access Google+ , leave a comment here and I’ll invite you! You’ll get bumped to the front of the line and get in on their limited-access beta. I’ve got more invites, I don’t know how many, so it’swhile supplies last.