Weekly Thought – February 17, 2015
Fred’s article on Speaking is a classic example of his clear thinking. He loved taking a big subject and breaking it down into manageable bites. This week we present principles one and two: 1) Prepare your attitude and 2) Prepare your content.
Thank you for helping us continue stretching and blessing through the outreach of BWF.
Imperatives for Effective Speaking (Part 1)
A. Prepare Your Attitude – Speaking starts with attitude – attitude colors every word, every gesture, and body movement. My checklist runs like this: 1) Do I feel obligated to speak or privileged? 2) Am I prepared, therefore confident? 3) Do I know what is expected of me? 4) Do I know I expect to accomplish? 5) Am I sure of my opening so I won’t be tentative or negative? 6) Do I like the people I’ll be speaking to?
All these affect the attitude. Anyone who feels the audience is fortunate in having them speak is prostituting the opportunity.
B. Prepare the Content – A speaker’s self-respect and sense of responsibility should start with content. If there is no content, there is no reason to speak. The best communication comes out of the overflow. There should always be that feeling that there is so much more in the spring from which this talk flowed.
It is insulting to hear a speaker who has nothing to say but insists on saying it anyway. In Texas we say he is “all hat and no cattle.”
Whenever I begin thinking of the honor of having been asked, I immediately shift to the responsibility of being asked – a responsibility that demands preparation. Each occasion should have its own special preparation. Speech notes, like bread, soon get stale. In each preparation there must be the yeast of newly discovered truth: exciting, new, and expanded insights along with practical applications.
Stories are the power in speaking. The truer the story, the better the illustration. Humility is required to be a good storyteller. A wealthy businessman once asked me to help him with his speaking. I asked him, “Can you tell a story?” He said, “No, my ego won’t let me.” He won’t be a highly effective speaker.
My friend, Dr. Ramesh Richard, once met a world-class symphony conductor who directed without a score so he could focus on the musicians and the music. He committed to speaking without notes. Proper organization helps tremendously in working without notes. It is good to have such command of your material that you can concentrate on the presentation and on the audience’s reception.
Finally, never let your preparation show. A lady asked my friend Jack Modesett, teacher of a large Sunday School class, “When you stand up, do you just open your mouth and it all comes out?” He answered, “Of course.” He didn’t tell her about the 25 hours of study he put in each week.
Masters of any art make it seem effortless. Preparation makes it so.
This week think about: 1) How seriously do I take my opportunities to speak? 2) What checks do I use to measure my attitude before speaking? 3) What makes me aware of the great privilege of speaking?
Words of Wisdom: “Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NET Bible)
NEXT WEEK: 1) Be Believable 2) Be audience oriented