“…THE MAN THAT HEARS SPEAKS CONSTANTLY.”
Have a blessed weekend!
This is an observation to my fellow men of the cloth but it should come in handy for anybody who does any form of public speaking.
Brent Filson in the book Executive Speeches wrote: “The Constitution guarantees free speech, but it does not guarantee listeners. Even if you do get listeners, there is no guarantee that they will be listening. So your first responsibility as a speaker is to gain and keep the audience’s attention.” I couldn’t agree more!
Now, to gain and keep the audience’s attention you must not just have something meaningful and beneficial to say, you must be able to say it interestingly. I believe that as a speaker the way to engage your audience and guarantee their attention is two-fold: entertain and educate. Better put, I want to entertain my listeners while educating them. (You say, “Heaven is too serious for that!”) You can’t be more serious than Jesus yet He was entertaining. How else could He have spoken to more than five thousand people for three days straight and got their attention without a public address system. They were so engrossed in what he was saying that they forgot to eat!
As a speaker I had always wanted my listeners to say something like, “I see! That was interesting. Now let me begin to take action on what I’ve learnt here.” I want to ‘preach’ to people without being ‘preachy’! To tell them something without them feeling being told – that’s what I mean by being entertaining while educating.
I consider it my life calling equipping people to find, follow and fulfill their God-given destinies. My listener must not only be able to discern their life purposes through my messages, they must also be inspired to identify practical steps to take to accomplish the same. Education that lacks entertainment content is not only boring but accomplishes little. In a similar vein, entertainment that has no solid educational value falls short of any lasting impact. The question therefore is “Are you entertaining without educating or educating without entertaining?” YOU WILL SUCCEED!
P. S. I have written on the subject of public speaking here before in a series of posts titled 10-Tips-for-Speaking-to-Impact-Lives. To read those pieces you can click on the link and these: 10-tips (2); 10-tips (3) and 10-tips (4).
“I am only one
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do”
This poem by Edward Everett Hale is an inspiration. And it is the thought I want to commit to your meditation right now.
It can be overwhelming trying to make a difference or changing the world. And come to think of it, you can’t take on the world like that. Changing the entire world begins and really is all about influencing the person next to you. You may not be able to do everything. That is sure. As humans we are finite. We have limited capacities-capacities of time, money, expertise, knowledge and influence. I cannot do everything. You cannot do everything. But that shouldn’t stop you from doing the little you can do.
See, it is little drops of water that make a mighty ocean. If you do what you can, and I do what I can; maybe we can together change the world. Jesus said it this way: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) It does not matter the size of your light-big or small? Your responsibility is to let it shine. You do what you can and leave the rest to God.
Look around you today: What one thing can you change? What one step can you take that will make a difference in the world – your own little corner of the world? What one thing can you do – make a statement, do an act of kindness, volunteer your time and skills, lend your voice to a cause and speaking out? Be a force for good and for God in your immediate environment – your family, workplace, and neighborhood. Go ahead and do that, friend. Now, that’s how to be a world-changer!
“…THE MAN THAT HEARS SPEAKS CONSTANTLY.”
Have a blessed weekend!
Here is the concluding part of this series. Hope you find it useful. Let me have your views and things to add that I might have left out. Let’s go!
#9. BE BRIEF! MAKE IT SHORT AND MEMORABLE.
BREVITY is a key to impactful speeches and sermons. Check it out; the most memorable speeches in history have been known to be very short. I heard it said somewhere several years ago and I have found it to be true from experience: The mind cannot absorb more than the seat can endure! That is so much the truer for this generation that seem to be perpetually plagued by attention deficit disorder (ADD).
I have always believed that it does not take an everlasting sermon to make an everlasting impact. And I read it somewhere that speeches do not have to be long to be great. Short speeches do not have to be long to be important. Long sermons have been known to be short on impact! Great speakers keep it short and simple. It takes a masterful speaker to make complex issues simple. The fool makes simple things complex, all for the sake of being considered profound. Learn to be brief. You can be simple without being simplistic!
#10. NEVER EVER YOU SPEAK WITHOUT THE ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. (Acts 1:5, 8; 1 Cor. 2:1-5) Whatever you do, get the ANOINTING. That’s my greatest trade secret! All what I have mentioned earlier (brevity, humor, knowledge, inspiration, passion, integrity etc.) in this particular series will hold no water except you are anointed by the Holy Ghost. This means that above all, you have to get the anointing. An un-anointed preacher is like an unwashed soap salesman – he does not use his own product. He lacks believability. It is the anointing, not human eloquence or oratorical skills that changes people’s lives. It is the anointing that infuses your words with power causing it to impact people positively. So, with all your getting, get the unction! I wish you a blessed and impactful speaking experience. You will succeed!
You may see the previous three posts on this same subject here:
10 Tips for Speaking To Impact Lives (1 of 4)
10 Tips for Speaking To Impact Lives (2 of 4)
10 Tips for Speaking To Impact Lives (3 of 4)
Hi there! Let’s resume our talking points on speaking with impact. I hope you’ve been able to take something away from these posts. If you missed the first two posts in which I covered #1 through #5, you can get them here and here.
#6. NEVER TALK PEOPLE DOWN, LIFT THEM UP!
Whatever your subject, inspire them. The easiest message to preach is one of condemnation. You don’t have to try, to beat people down. They already are! But it takes a committed speaker, who is out to help people, to inspire and lift them up. I believe you can talk about hell without raising it, because I have done that before. And I must tell you, from experience, that it is not as easy or as simple as it looks to inspire people. You have to work at it. Inspiring people does not mean you have to sugarcoat or downplay the severity and seriousness of what you’re discussing. It only means that you approach your subject from a positive angle focused on helping people and not condemning them. INSPIRATION is an indispensable key if you want to impact people.
#7. FOR GOD’S SAKE, LOOSEN UP!
Don’t be too uptight. HUMOR is vital in public speaking. If you can get people to laugh, then you can get them to identify with what you’re saying. I’m not saying you have to become a stand-up comic. No! But you see, rare is the speaker who is able to connect with his/her audience without using humor. I can tell you that firsthand! You may not be the “funny type”, I know. But you sure can find a good joke to tell, all the better if the joke is on you. Just don’t think that because you’re discussing something serious, you have to take yourself too seriously. Catch my drift?
#8. NEVER SPEAK WITHOUT COPYING THE MOST IMPACTFUL SPEAKER OF ALL TIMES – JESUS. TELL STORIES.
Everyone loves a good story. People may forget your actual words from a speech but they may never forget the story you used to illustrate your point. That, my friend, is THE POWER OF STORY. Many people, I’m sure you too, and even non-church going people remember classic illustrations (we call them parables) of Jesus like; the Sower, the Good Samaritan, the lost sheep, the lost coin and the (lost) Prodigal Son, the Persistent Widow and the Unjust Judge etc. And once you can recollect the story, the essence of the message becomes clear and indelible to your mind. Ditto! I make it a point never to speak without telling stories. You don’t have to have an exceptional ability to craft stories, just real life illustrations relevant to the subject matter of your discourse will do. I will conclude this in my next post. YOU WILL SUCCEED!