Before we get on the topic of preparing our talks, I wanted to mention that for some reason my Feedburner account sent out an old post today and I’m not sure why. Here’s what I think though… someone must have not only needed to be reminded to take each thought captive but also be armed with the tools to know how to do so.
To be honest, I used to get a little freaked out when stuff like that happened, but I know God is bigger than our technical blunders. So, I’m thankful the Lord knew it might just encourage someone’s heart today! Hope it did!
Now… on to speaking:
Have you been called to speak and aren’t sure how to most effectively develop your message? Whether you’re a newbie to the whole wide world of speaking or you’re a veteran speaker there are some things you can do to hone your preparation skills.
Public speaking is only half of what you’re called to do. The speaking doesn’t happen well without the preparation. An anxious heart is pretty normal when you stand behind the mic, but when you step up to speak and you aren’t prepared, well… that’s really the worst!
Here are five ways to develop your next talk so you will be prepared to open your mouth:
1. Put their needs before your message. Consider who contacted you and why. Ask the event coordinators what they are expecting and what they think the needs are. They generally know the pulse of those you are speaking to and the needs of the audience. You may have a message you feel comfortable presenting but it may not be what they need to hear. It’s important to find out what they need first.
2. Pray. We know nothing happens of any significance without seeking God’s face first. Yet in the middle of trying to get ready for the impending speaking engagement it’s important that we guard our tendency to get so busy doing the work of the ministry that we leave off the most important part of it all. So pray like crazy for the event, the women who will be attending, the ministry team and your own heart.
3. Begin to cluster your thoughts on paper. Put your main idea in the center and then just write out every thought that comes to your mind that could be related to it in any way… even if it’s not directly related to it, write down. Often times it’s NOT JUST a single word for me (as depicted in the illustration) but it may be a phrase or a quote or a complete sentence. But write it down and then begin to link some of the thoughts together by using lines to connect them. Try using a differect color highlighter to narrow your thoughts into categories. It’s easy to be all over the place and it’s important to begin to catergorize your thoughts as you cluster.
4. Gather your research material based on your clustering and then begin to dig in. Your thought cluster is to give you some direction, but you will definitely need to sort through it and start to thoroughly research the information you’ve gathered. Study in a way that works best for you. I’m not very good at using other people’s material so I have to always start in the Word and then do my own research from there. I use a few commentaries but I do most of my own word searches.
5. Create a journey with a specific destination. It’s important that your message is a journey that has a destination. Your job as a speaker is to take them with you without taking a bunch of random detours and leaving them with way too many landmarks to keep up with. As you put together your talk keep asking yourself if your words are blazing a path that they can follow and are you keeping on track so they can track with you? Remember, if you’re all over the place, you’re taking them no where – and if you take detours you are sending them in the wrong direction and they may end up lost in the midst of the journey. Your job is to take them on a journey with an intended destination. If you don’t, your words will be… just words.
So there you have it… 5 Tips to Help you Develop Your Next Talk. Hope it helps.
What do you do differently? I’d love for you to add some of your own tips to the list.