Joe McKeever on How an Experienced Preacher Can Improve His or Her Speaking

Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’  But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, I am a youth.  For you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord.  (Jeremiah 1:6-8)

Short answer:  Work at it.

Longer answer:  Read, listen, attend, ask, study, change, improve.

I used to have a professional speaker in my church.  When I asked her for advice, she declined.  I was disappointed. I would loved to have had some helpful pointers from her.  (Many years later, we are still in contact and to my pleasant surprise, she remembers only how effective I was.  I’m thankful for her poor memory!)

I bought a magazine at Barnes & Noble the other day.  OnPoint costs like a hardbound but is a slick quarterly from the Harvard Business Review.  The entire Summer 2019 issue is devoted to  “How to Become a Fearless Speaker.”

I paid $20 bucks for it.

If I get one or two great ideas, it’ll be an excellent investment.

And that’s another point worth remembering, pastor:  Always be open to improving your technique.

I’ve been a public speaker almost as long as I’ve been standing.  In the fourth grade, when Mrs. Meadows invited students who had read a great story to share it with  the whole class, I would volunteer, walk to the front of the room, turn to face the students, and make up a story on the spot.

Yes. You read that right.

I. Made. Up. The. Story. On. The. Spot.

I’m as amazed as anyone, thinking back on that.

I have no idea what prompted that exercise in spontaneous creativity,  where the self-confidence (pride?) came from, or what momentarily robbed me of my sound judgment.  Just as mystifying from this distance is why  Mrs. Meadows let me get by with it.  Not once did she ever reprove me for doing it.  (I could add that neither did she compliment me, but I’m confident my attempts were not particularly well done.  Nevertheless, she was extremely lenient with this little brash kid.)

Fear of public speaking, we’re told, ranks right up there with the fear of dying.

It shouldn’t.

Those of us who do it often–and hopefully fairly well–become energized  in front of a group of hearers.  When we have something good to share, and know it’s good and they’re going to love it, there’s nothing better.

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Source: Church Leaders