September 29 9:00am - 3:00pm
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
$99 general public / $35 undergrads
The WLI 2017 National Conference is located inside the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. For your convenience, we have secured a block rate for king and double queen rooms at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. Book your room(s) early to ensure you are included in this block rate. Rooms are $119.00 a night, $20.00 for each additional person per room. Included with reservation is one breakfast voucher for each paid guest to be used in the Bistro 333 in the lobby. Hotel guests will be responsible for parking fees. The cutoff date for reserving a block rate room is September 12, 2017.
Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
333 West Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, 53203
Designed for both men and women Christian professionals and college students, the Pressure Points event will tackle four topics where workplace expectations and responsibilities can create pressure points. Four experienced speakers will share their personal journeys of being a Christian professional in corporate and public life and share tips for navigating the grey areas when Christian values and workplace expectations don’t always reconcile. Each topic will be followed by reflection time, interactive table discussions with like-minded professionals, and online discussion boards for further connection and engagement.
Participants will also receive lunch and refreshments and have to walk through our exhibitor tables and connect with other organizations that support Christian professionals in the workplace. This will be an event you do not want to miss! Click through to see the schedule, speaker bios and topic descriptions.
- Christian business leaders share how to lead and influence in the secular workplace
- 4 Ted Talk-style presentations with small and large group discussion
- Admission to the WLI National Conference Exhibitor Hall
- Buffet lunch and refreshments
Do you like to talk? If so, then you possess the potential to become a dynamic public speaker. It’s true! Yet, you might find that your nerves steal your power.
When we feel threatened, our bodies typically react in one of three ways: flight, freeze, or fight. Many of us experience the flight and/or freeze modes when asked to present publicly. We may find excuses not to present (flight). Or, we may become extremely nervous about the presentation and our carefully-prepared words seem to fall right out of our heads (freeze).
Symptoms of Nervousness
Perhaps you’ve experienced some of the following common physiological symptoms of nervousness: dry mouth, shaky knees, trembling voice, red skin blotches, or excessive sweat. The good news is that most people do not detect your nervousness. The other piece of good news: the worst of the symptoms typically subside after thirty seconds of speaking.
You probably know exactly how your body responds when you speak publicly so take measures to counteract the specific symptoms. For example, if you suffer a dry mouth, suck a mint beforehand as well as bring water. If you get shaky knees, wear pants. If you get a blotchy neck and chest, wear high-neck clothes or a scarf. If you sweat too much, wear black, navy, or white colors. Breathing techniques to slow your heart rate are also recommended.
Strategies to Conquer Your Nerves
Being prepared for the presentation and passionate about the topic are two easy ways to help offset the nerves. Pick a topic that you get naturally jazzed up about. If you’re assigned a topic for which you have little knowledge or enthusiasm, ask the coordinator to adjust the topic. If you’re stuck with it, request to co-present. That will take the pressure off you having to become an expert on the topic.
If you are a novice speaker, you will want to try a progression approach to build skills and confidence. First, try some low-stakes public speaking, such as volunteering to read material during a Bible study, church service, or meeting. Next, find opportunities where there is a moderate amount of psychological risk. Examples include facilitating a meeting, co-presenting, praying aloud at a group event, speaking to a group of much-younger people, or speaking to a very small, informal group. Young people and small groups don’t seem to “threaten” us as much. Now you’re ready for the formal, structured public speaking events. Until you are a more advanced speaker, consider reducing the amount of self-disclosure offered in a speech. Sharing private information (e.g., history of abuse or trauma) can make us feel more vulnerable, which results in higher anxiety levels.
Assuming you’ve conquered your nerves enough to focus on your delivery, let’s turn to the most common pieces of advice I offer to beginner speakers.
- Let your natural enthusiasm for the topic carry your pitch, tone, and inflection.
- Speak to the back of the room or the person farthest away to project voice.
- Breathe normally to regulate your pace; what seems like a long moment to catch your breath is not really very long to an audience member.
- Minimize “um’s” and other fillers by using pauses judiciously. If you use fillers in everyday conversation, you will use them more in speeches.
- No reading and no memorization. Use your notes to jog your memory only.
- Maintain eye contact with each person for 2-3 seconds.
- Use your hands for natural gestures or rest lightly on the table/podium.
- Ground the four corners of your feet firmly and hip width apart. Stand or sit up straight to project confidence.
- Use movement with purpose and to burn excessive energy. Avoid swaying, though.
- Use a PowerPoint or another visual aid to draw staring eyes away from you. (Warning: Technology will fail you when you need it most, such as on Presentation Day, so be sure to have an old-school back-up plan ready.)
- Match your wardrobe to the formality of the event and the seriousness of your topic.
Even after you’ve had experience speaking, and mastered the basic verbal and nonverbal delivery techniques, it is natural to feel nervous. You can harness that nervous energy by embracing it. To an audience member, nervous energy just looks like energy.
Think of speech as a gift from God. We have a responsibility to use it for the service of our neighbors.
“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV)
We may stumble over our words, but the power of God never stumbles.
Come to the WLI National Conference in Milwaukee on September 29 – October 1 to hear Sarah’s presentation—Speaking 101: Delivery that Delivers
Outline. When you hear that word, you probably groan and think of English 101 in high school. Just how were you supposed to place those capital letters and Roman numerals? Don’t worry—outlining a life-changing presentation isn’t about perfecting the mechanics of outlining. It’s about organizing your information in a way that helps audience members listen to and remember your words.
Most of us have had the experience of listening to a speaker roam through a topic without seeming to have any particular destination in mind. His words strolled through the subject without purpose. And he wandered on so many side paths that at the end of the speech you were left wondering what he was trying to say.
Well-organized speeches are:
- Easier to understand. With a clear and logical order, listeners can follow your thoughts.
- Easier to remember. Clear organization helps audience members identify and recall your key points.
- More credible. Speakers who offer well-planned speeches are perceived as more authoritative on their subject.
To begin to formulate a creative outline for Bible-based presentation, look at your chosen Scripture and identify the main ideas. Divide the Scripture into sections and title each section. Make sure the title of each section relates to the key point you want to convey.
Next, play around with the titles. Use your creativity to come up with titles your audience will remember.
For instance, imagine you were going to give a presentation on Colossians 3:5-14, where the apostle Paul talks about putting off the old self and putting on the old self. Here are three creative ways you could structure the talk:
- Use an analogy. Help your audience envision this passage as an exercise in cleaning out their spiritual closets. Employ the terms closet organizers use:
- Toss (vv. 5-11) Toss out anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
- Keep (vv. 12-13) Keep compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
- Donate (v. 14) Give away love.
- Use the same word. Start each section title with the same word. This gives a clear and memorable structure to your speech. For instance:
- Put to death (vv. 5-11) Put to death anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk.
- Put on the new (vv. 12-13) Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
- Put love over all (v. 14) Put on love—above all–which binds everything together.
- Use an acronym. Create titles that begin with a letter of a word that relates to your topic. When I speak on this passage, I use the concept of spiritual STYLE and spell out that word:
- See the Need for Change
- Toss Out the Old
- Yearn for Something More
- Learn God’s Style
- Embrace the New
Remember, outlining your speech is not about getting every Roman numeral in the right place—it’s about helping your audience internalize your message. Use your imagination and pray that God will give you a practical and fun way to present your topic.
Sharla Fritz is the author of three Bible studies: Soul Spa, Divine Design, Bless These Lips, and a study for teens: Divine Makeover: God Makes You Beautiful. Check out her online course on Christian speaking at Women’s Leadership Institute Academy. Watch for more information about her speaking workshops at the WLI 2017 National Conference.