Notes from Donald Miller’s Keynote at Echo

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 06 2010

The opportunity to hear Donald Miller speak was one of the main reasons I decided to go to Echo. I read his latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, recently and it changed the way I think about life. During and after his session, the #echo10 Twitter stream included some comments from people who were disappointed in his presentation. Even Donald Miller himself tweeted that he “felt ick” about it. I think people were expecting the man who wrote an entire book about the importance of story in our life to tell us stories. Instead, he presented statistics and step-by-step ideas on how to make those stories happen. Once I settled into what he was saying, I was excited that he was giving us all the secret to inspiring ourselves and others to live great stories. I was furiously taking notes through his whole speech. Here’s what I managed to capture:

Donald Miller
Keynote Address – Echo Conference 2010

In his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink reveals what really motivates us. External, financial rewards actually hurt production. Having a clear, altruistic purpose is what really motivates people. (He referred to several other statistics that supported this idea, but I couldn’t catch them all!)

People will buy the story every time. Tom’s Shoes are OK-looking shoes that don’t last very long. They’ve become popular because they have a great story and a goal to help others.

To tell a story that will change the world:

Start planning by creating a Single Climactic Scene

  • This tells the story of the people affected by the project.
  • It is a fully-fleshed, personable end goal with a visual image that is intellectually and emotionally engaging.

Questions to ask as you develop your Single Climactic Scene (SCS):

  • What is the project?
  • What are the outcomes you’re responsible for?
  • Why is this good for your organization, your customers, and your community?
  • Describe one of the scenes that can ONLY happen if you bring about the SCS.

After you’ve written the SCS, ask yourself:

  • From my associates’ perspective, why might the SCS not be engaging?
  • Have I captured a scene that employees and customers can envision?
  • Can my people make an emotional and intellectual connection with the SCS?
  • Does bringing about the SCS mean we’ve accomplished all we are responsible for?

After the SCS is finalized, ask these questions as you begin to work to achieve it:

  • What are the most obvious conflicts that we’ll encounter as we pursue the SCS?
  • List all MAJOR conflicts that you can anticipate. If these go unaddressed, the SCS will not happen. (This step automatically sets priorities.)
  • What is the deadline for the SCS?
  • With that deadline in mind, when must we respond to our anticipated conflicts?
  • Enlist/hire the appropriate characters to overcome the conflicts.

God wants you to take responsibility for your life. Take a risk; tell a hard story.

Notes from Kem Meyer’s Breakout Session at Echo

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 04 2010
Here are the thoughts I managed to scribble down during Kem Meyer’s breakout session. I’m 2 or 3 chapters into her book—I can’t wait to read and apply the rest!
Less Clutter, Less Noise
Kem Meyer – Echo Conference 2010
  • We are trying to persuade people to change.
  • Don’t push your agenda, personalize it.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear
  • Our job is not to send a message, it’s to release a response.
1. Check your ego.
  • We overestimate what we have to say; we underestimate how it will affect the hearer.
  • People aren’t open to my change prescription (“You’re not the boss of me!”)  and are offended by insider language.
  • Think less about what you have to say, and more about how it impacts others.
2. Get an image consultant.
  • Have someone else (co-worker, spouse, friend, etc.) look at your work for context.
  • Have someone test your assumptions.
  • Draw on the perspective of others.
  • You can’t assume others will respond the same way you do. Learn about your audience. (Don’t make your audience do the hard work of trying to figure out what you’re saying.)
  • Think about influence, not control. (Kem told a personal story about her daughter. Her daughter had been behaving rebelliously. Kem realized that when she stopped telling her what to do, and started having a conversation with her, things began to change. She successfully applied this same principle to all of her communication.)
3. Keep it simple.
  • If you want to maximize response, you need to minimize options.
  • Think progressive dinner, not potluck! (Don’t give immediately give your audience every bit of info they might possibly need.  What do they need to know first–the MOST important thing? Then what do they need next? Then next…?)
  • Which is more effective–the food pyramid or “3 months or 3,000 miles”? (Which do you think about and actually use more often in daily life? It’s the simple one.)
  • We don’t need more content, we need to fix the flow–make information easier to find.
  • Let people sort themselves. When you need size 8 running pants, you don’t look for the Size 8 Running Pants Store. You go to a store that has clothes, then you look for the women’s clothes, then you look for athletic wear, then you look for pants, then you look for size 8! People can find the information they need if you make it easy for them to self-categorize.
  • “A generation ago, the question was, ‘What is truth?‘ Today, it’s ‘What’s the point?‘” -Billy Graham
  • Output should decrease, conversation should increase.

Notes from Jon Acuff’s Keynote at Echo

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Aug 03 2010

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Echo Conference in Dallas, Texas. It’s a conference for people who work in church media, but there was TON of info I’ll be able to apply to my work in the marketing department of a staffing company. It was personally refreshing and professionally inspiring.

I took tons of notes, and will be sharing them over the next few weeks, as I have time to type them up and get them posted. I’ll start with my notes from Jon Acuff’s keynote. Jon is the creator of, a site that he started to discuss the problem of Christian “Christianizing” pop culture phenomenons. He said he expected it to only last a few weeks, but two years, and one book later, it’s still going strong. Here are the ideas I managed to jot down:

The Rhythm of Social Media
Jon Acuff – Echo Conference 2010

Three elements to successful social media:

- Americans are subjected to 3,500 marketing messages each day.
- Surprise can help your message stick.
- The brain tries to associate new information with old ideas. If your idea isn’t new enough to grab attention, people will tune it out.
- For example, Jon’s “Booty, God, Booty” concept is surprising and more memorable than simply saying, “Sometime we compartmentalize our faith.”
- There is a difference between being shocking and being surprising. A shock is a shortcut–cheap and quick.
- Our stories should have a seamless, short gap between the hook (the surprise) and the core message. (How can a church move from “come to church Sunday for a chance to win a new car!” to “Jesus died for you”? It’s a ridiculous stretch.)

- You have to be consistent. “Single Ladies Devastation” was not Carlos Whittaker’s first YouTube video of his kids. It’s what he does every day.
- Exodus 13 – Like the Isrealites, sometimes God takes us on the longer road because we’re not ready for the battles of the short road. We often don’t want to accept the gift of the desert road, but God takes us on the long way because He loves us.
- Focus on the vital instead of the viral.
- God is about filling hearts, not rooms.

- It’s kind of obvious, but honesty communicates powerfully.
- Ad agencies are catching on to this:

- We think we have to be cleaned up to do what we do. “I’m not ready yet.”
This is where the devil can attack us. He’s not omnipotent, so he only attacks the       things that benefit the kingdom. When you start using your talents, he attacks you.
- Having a separate ‘online you’ and ‘offline you’ is dangerous.
- Jon told a story about a kid who accidentally put mustard on his ice cream, but rather than accepting a free, clean bowl of ice cream, he just stirred it in, because he was embarrassed. We don’t have to eat the mustard ice cream! You can’t fix your life by stirring the bad stuff in. Jesus came for the failures and mess-ups. He’ll give you a clean bowl.
- Fame is dangerous in the Christian world. Don’t chase fame; you’re already famous to God.
- The headline about the Vietnam kindergarten-building effort on was “Blog Raises $30,000 in 18 Hours,” but it actually took 18 months of relationship-building and daily blog posts.