Even though I speak on a weekly basis I still get nervous getting up in front of an audience. It’s interesting considering that I’m an extrovert. I love being around large groups of people; however, the idea of them watching me gets me sweating in a not so pleasant way.
To get more comfortable speaking in front of teenagers (And even adults) I need to gain more confidence in my speaking.
Your comfort level is one of the many factors that contributes to effective speaking. If you want to engage students and empower them you need to consistently hone your craft. To do this takes practice; however, it also means:
- Watching The Experts – While you have your own unique style, studying other professionals will help you pick up on good habits. How are they starting their message? How do they move in and out of laughter? Don’t just watch other pastors, check out comedians or conference speakers who have a great speaking reputation.
- Owning The Content – Maybe you outsource your material and maybe it’s 100% original. No matter what you are using you need to own it. That means making sure challenges and bottom lines (What you want them to know) are extremely clear and in your voice. Don’t be afraid to pass it around to others to review it for you.
- Timing Yourself – When you time the length of your message it challenges you to think, “Can I get to my point quicker?” This means eliminating unnecessary examples and catching on delays like, “Um“. The more efficiently you use your time the better you engage your audience.
- Breaking Down The Sections - While rehearsing your message back to front is important, it’s also key to break it down. This means understanding the transitions that take place from component (i.e. scripture) to component. Take the time to just rehearse certain parts and discover the flow of your message improve.
- Grabbing An Audience – Even if it’s one person ask if you can read them your message. This way you can practice in front of a face (To overcome stage fright) and gain feedback on body language, tone and pace.
- Recording What You Do - Just as an athlete studies game tape to improve a swing or a shot, you need to review yourself speaking. This is humbling become it means noticing bad (And good) habits and seeing what others are witnessing. Just set up a camera and journal what you are seeing. Next time you practice you’ll keep your notes in mind.
Speaking is a gift; however, it’s a skill that needs to be crafted and practiced. With everything on your plate it’s easy to just write the message and give it; however, communication is one of your most important responsibilities. If you can communicate effectively and deliver an engaging message you’ll bring your ministry to an entirely new level.
What speaking tips would you add to the list?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)