Filed Under Resources
Finding the correct image for promotional materials, posters, bulletins, and the like is challenging. For example, when looking for the perfect photo for the young adults ministry, you envision a group of young students connecting in a Bible study setting. To begin your search, you type in “college students” to Google images and find students with books, graduation caps, and in the library, but none seem to match the image you envisioned.
Then, when you finally stumble across an image that fits, you find that it doesn’t print well. The photo is low quality, and when blown up for the promotional material, it becomes grainy and pixelated.
Plus, did you know it’s illegal to use any image found online to which you do not own the rights?
So, when you can’t find the right image, when it’s poor quality, and you don’t own the rights, where do you start? Let me introduce you to iStockphoto – a digital library of photos, illustrations, art, and video that can be purchased for a small fee. Using iStockphoto ensures that your images are high quality and legal and you can use customized searches to help you find the perfect image.
You can purchase iStockphotos 2 different ways; you can purchase each photo individually or you can purchase “credits” upfront to apply to future downloads on the site.
Once you find the photo, illustration, video, or music you simply make the payment and can then legally download the image on the spot. It’s easy, the images are high quality, and it’s legal.
Question: Where do you find photos for print materials?
My computer sometimes feels a bit like my closet – there’s never enough space! Especially when storing photos and videos, I quickly fill up my computer’s hard drive. To create more space on my hard drive, I’ve started to store large files online using Dropbox – a free cloud-based storage service. Once I started using this service, I found that it could do a lot more than expand my computer’s “closet.”
Here are a few things you can do using Dropbox:
- Access files from anywhere. Saving files to the cloud allows you to retrieve them from any device. No more missing flash drives or realizing the file you need is on another computer. Access Dropbox from your phone, ipad, or your work computer.
- Share files. Ever tried emailing a file too large to attach? Simply upload the document to Dropbox and send a link.
- Collaborate. Save a file to the cloud and multiple people can access and edit the document.
Question: How do you manage multiple devices?
Filed Under Resources
I work with college students at Baylor University, and at the beginning of the semester, one of the first questions I ask the new students is, “How did you end up here?” Some students share how they chose Baylor because their family has been Baylor Bear fans for generations, and others share how a friend told them about the University. This past week a student told me that she moved from Oregan to Texas without having visited the campus based on a flyer she received in the mail from Baylor. Talk about a powerful piece of paper that altered the course of someone’s life!
When it comes to our blogs and websites, we ought to ask that same question, “How did you end up here?” When we are able to discern the answer, we can know how to get others to join as well and how to get visitors to return to our site. Google Analytics allows you to track the activity of your visitors – how visitors land on your site, which page they land on, how long they stay, the pages they click along with other data. With Google Analytics, you can track the activity on any webpage in order to cater your content, promotion, and advertising to meet the most people.
See how many people are on your site at any given time. This data reveals the city the active users are viewing from, what pages they are viewing, and how long they’ve been on your site. The real-time data helps determine the best time of day for posting.
Specify any time frame – be it a day, week, or month – and view how people came to your site. Are most of your visitors coming from a Facebook or Twitter link? Is another site promoting your page? You may find that most people are coming directly to your site with your URL. This information is especially helpful if you are paying for advertising. You can easily track which sites direct the most people your direction.
Learn about your audience by seeing where they are located geographically, the pages they graviate to, how many pages they click per visit, and how long they stay on your site. These insights help you determine if your site is user-friendly, if your content is relevant, and if you have a healthy balance of returning visitors and new visitors finding your page.
We’ll cover how to connect Google Analytics to your webpage in an upcoming post.
Question: How do you track activity on your ministry page or blog?
We all know how social media is a powerful way to stay connected and engage those in our ministries. The challenging part about maintaining a social media presence is the need for steady and constant outflow of content. I have a Facebook page I created for my Bible study, and when I first started it, I posted often and the followers were enthusiastic. As time progressed, however, I wrote fewer and fewer posts and eventually stopped. Now it is dormant and the members have lost interest in the page.
Regularly posting online throughout the day is impossible – especially if we want to remain productive! Thus, a system is needed. Let me introduce you to Buffer – a tool that allows you to write posts, gather links, store them online, and then schedule the posts throughout the day.
You can post to multiple Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts all through a single account on Buffer. With the free account on Buffer, you can store up to 10 posts and schedule when the posts will be tweeted or Facebooked.
In the morning as you get ready for the day, you can write the posts you want to share, import them to Buffer, and check off social media for the rest of the day. Or, you could write all of your posts each Monday for the week or even at the beginning of the month for the entire month! The Buffer upgrade allows you to store unlimited posts in the queue. You can always jump in and tweet beyond what it stored in Buffer, but the queue helps ensure the ministry’s page is not dormant when you become busy.
As you stumble across tweets you’d like to retweet, a Buffer extension allows you to add these tweets to your queue directly from Twitter – much like the “Retweet” button. The same can be done with posts you’d like to share on Facebook.
Consider giving Buffer a try and alleviate the stress of constantly posting to your social media outlets.
Question: Does your ministry use social media? How do you manage the updates?
Filed Under This we like!
You’ve prayed, prepared your message and now it’s time to present. The last thing you want is for your audience to miss what God has to say because they are distracted by what you are wearing. So the big question is, “what should I wear when I am speaking?”
There are two main things to consider.
- Your Audience – Will you be speaking to women only or will there be men or children present? Is it a casual or semi-casual event? What will your audience most likely be wearing? Plan to dress a notch more formal than your audience (especially in a casual environment).
- Your Setting -Determine some specifics about the event and assess how they will directly affect what you choose to wear. What is the set-up? Will you be speaking to the audience from a stage? Behind a podium? Sitting down? Behind a desk/table? Will there be a live video feed/screen? Is a microphone required? If so, will it be hand held, blue-tooth, or a clip on?
Here are some tips from the experts to help you look professional and poised without being distracting.
1. Color – the color you wear is extremely important and it can actually effect the mood of your audience. Rich, lush and vibrant colors work best. Wear colors that are flattering on your skin tone in a more bold tone than you might regularly wear. This way you will be appropriately noticeable in the crowd. When we wear dark colors to a speaking engagement we run the risk of looking like a dark blob to the audience. Wearing all white is generally not a good idea, it can make you look washed out or become distracting to your audience. Also, avoid blending into your background.
2. Clothing - Clothing should be clean and ironed, skirts should not end above the knee, wear closed shoes (no sandals or slingbacks). A top or dress with a wide u-neckline or v-neckline is always a good choice. This neckline gives the illusion of a long neck and directs attention to the face. Always make sure your clothing is modest and doesn’t fit too tightly or allow undergarments or cleavage to show.
3. Comfort – it is important to feel comfortable and look comfortable and confident when you are speaking in front of an audience. Wear comfortable shoes. If you have items rubbing you during your presentation, your annoyance will be conveyed to your audience.
4. Clutter – the fewer visual distractions you offer your audience, the more likely they are to pay attention to the content you share. Avoid overdoing accessories, especially things that make noise and dangling or flashy jewelry. Make sure your pockets are empty. Women should avoid big hair, and too much makeup. Makeup should be natural looking, jewelry modest and not distracting, and hair combed or styled and kept out of the face. Some additional visual distractions include loose buttons and threads, visible undergarments, wrinkle-prone fabrics, noisy shoes when you have to walk throughout the presentation.
Question: What are your best tips for dressing for a speaking engagement?
Filed Under Resources
Knowing the needs of those in our ministries is important. We become more effective and reach more people when our offerings are finely tuned to our community – timely events, relevant bible studies, and appropriate responses to feedback.
SurveyMonkey provides a platform to ensure we are effective as possible – and that our community has a voice. SurveyMonkey is a free web service that allows you to create customizable surveys for free. The surveys can be shared through email, on Facebook, or on your ministry’s website.
Here are a few ways you can use SurveyMonkey:
It’s the start of the new year, and you’re trying to choose the perfect curriculum. What type of Bible Study are the women in your ministry needing this season? Well, with SurveyMonkey, you can ask them! Create the survey, post it on Facebook, and you’ll have immediate feedback!
And when is comes to choosing the right day and time for your study, use a poll to take the guesswork out.
After planning an event, send out a feedback survey to learn what the attendants find most impactful and suggestions they have for next year.
Next time you catch yourself wondering what the women in your ministry want or need, consider asking them! You’ll find that women in your ministry are quick to lend their voice and feeling heard deepens their investment in the ministry. SurveyMonkey makes it incredibly easy to gather information so that you can spend more time planning and serving.
Question: What other survey services do you use or like?
We’ve all been there. We need peace and quiet in order to zero in and get work done, but it seems such environment is no where to be found. In a world of distractions, our focus is always being interrupted.
It’s challenging to find the perfect work environment. My favorite place to work and write is at a coffee shop near my home; the activity of the coffee shop keeps me energized and on a perfect day, the nearby conversations are just out of earshot and a mere hum.
But, sometimes I will load up my bags and set up at the coffee shop just to find it’s too noisy. Or, I’ll be in my office and find it’s impossible not to listen to the boisterous coworker down the hall. And as if finding the perfect work environment isn’t challenging enough, sometimes it’s too quiet. Have you been there?
Let me introduce you to coffitivity.com – the vibe of a coffee shop delivered right to your desktop. This website streams ambient noise that is steady so it’s not distracting, and it is lively enough to help you stay motivated.
Coffitivity.com is geared to help you to focus on what you’re working on while still maintaining creativity. The mission of the site is to create an environment that is a calm commotion, which is “proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.”
Whether you’re in an office too quiet, on an airplane too chatty, or a coffeeshop too loud, create the perfect setting to focus and get things done. The perfect coffee shop work environment is a click away.
Question: How do you combat distractions you cannot control?
Filed Under Latest News
You’ve probably received a message like this before from a close friend: “I can’t believe I found this pic of you! Click here to see it.” The message seemed out of character, and downright fishy – with good reason. Messages like these fester across the internet, through email, Facebook, and Twitter.
Even though they come to us through trusted accounts, they are in fact illegitimate. Messages are sent via scammers and hackers, who gain access to unauthorized accounts, steal information, and lure in unsuspecting people connected with those accounts. Accounts become compromised further, distrust is sown, and people become concerned with the content they are subscribed to.
As you can imagine, this type of problem and compromise would be detrimental to a ministry Twitter, professional Facebook account, or church email. Thankfully, we have recourse.
Faced with an abundance of this type of online scamming, major internet services have united to crush unauthorized account access. Their solution is two-step authentication. What is two-step authentication?
It is easy to pick up a password to an account. When a password is all that is needed, a hacker effectively has the keys. Two-step authentication helps keeps the bad guys out of your account by using both your password and your phone to log-on. An extra layer of security is required; in addition to a password, you will enter a short and always-changing code that is sent to you via text or call.
So, how it works is this:
1.) Enter your password – just like you always do.
2.) Enter a code from your phone – after you enter your password, a code will be sent to you.
3.) Enter this code, login, and keep the bad guys out!
The two-step code is used the first time you log-in using a new device. After enabling this feature on my major accounts, I’ve felt far more secure.
Here’s are link on how to get it enabled on major services:
Question: What measures do you take to keep your accounts secure?
Filed Under Food for Thought
If you are a public speaker (whether a beginner or a pro), it is almost certain in order to make your message heard, you will have to use a microphone. Surprising as it may seem, there is a real technique to using a microphone that will ensure a crisp and clear delivery of your presentation.
Most of us have been in presentations where the microphone hindered the speakers message rather than enhanced the message. In order to avoid this, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Know How to Place the Microphone.
Holding the mic too close will make your words fuzzy and unclear. While holding the mic too far away will make your listeners strain to hear what you are saying.
- Handheld Mic – The best way to hold a handheld mic is in the middle of the stem and not too close to your mouth. Relax, avoid being too stiff or too limp when working with a handheld mic.
- Lapel Mic (aka lavalier) – This particular mic should be placed in the middle of the chest, right above the heart, where the chest caves in a little bit. If you place it higher, you get more clothes rustle, and if you place it close to the neck you lose a lot of the high frequencies, as the chin shades for the direct sound. Be aware of hot and cold spots when you turn your head. Imagine that the base of the letter “V” is coming up from your microphone. You can move your head within that “V” and be heard.
- Ear Piece Mic – Make sure to fit the ear set around your ear snugly so it will hold a stable position. Place the C-shaped ear set around your left ear so that the bend nearest the connector fits into the pocket between your earlobe and your head. Sweep your finger along the ear set, pressing in into the notch between your ear and your head. The microphone should be touching or almost touching the side of your face and as far forward as possible without picking up pops and breath noises.
2. Know How to Control the Microphone.
Never adapt yourself to a microphone. Make the microphone adapt to you.
- Speak directly and clearly into the microphone making special emphasis on putting ending sounds on your words such as “t’s”.
- Speaking directly over the top surface of the mic is your best bet for the best clarity.
- Make sure to control your volume and project your voice without causing feedback.
- To do your part as a speaker, avoid pointing the microphone at anything besides your mouth.
- If you experience feedback, adapt your body position to help rid the feedback while the sound technicians readjust the sound.
3. Know How to Make the Microphone Enhance Your Message.
If used properly, the audience should never notice your microphone. Your main goal as a speaker is to have the audience remember your message, not your method.
- Be enthusiastic – Get excited about your message and have passion about what God has given you to speak about.
- Be energetic – Make sure you are well rested and well fed before you speak. If you have to, do a few exercises to pump your body up before you go before your audience.
- There is nothing worse than a message falling flat because of a lack of energy and enthusiasm.
Question: Have you had any bad experiences using a microphone and what did you learn from it? Please leave a comment below.
The 13th Annual She Speaks Conference is now open for registration and you are invited to attend! If you have a passion to share God’s Word through writing or speaking this just may be the conference for you.
When: July 25-27, 2013
Where: Concord, North Carolina
Cost: Main Conference $775/Pre-Conference Intensive Training $150
This is a life-changing three-day conference, that will give you the tools and the confidence you need to answer God’s call on your life. You will learn how to make the most of your messages, the nuts and bolts of speaking, writing, leading and influencing, and have the opportunity to meet with some of today’s top Christian publishers. And you will be inspired and encouraged. She Speaks is not just another conference … it is a true experience with God and a revival in your calling!
Attend the pre-conference training and receive intensive training in one of four areas offered including: writing, speaking, the basics of developing a platform and leadership. Find out more here.
Make plans now to attend by registering here.
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