Death by Public Speaking —  April 15, 2013

Most people are afraid of public speaking. So much so, that in a significant percentage of Americans, death is feared less than getting up in front of people and speaking. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, here are three questions to ask yourself:

1. What’s my goal?

Is it to impress or to impact? Is it to inform or transform? Some speakers are so deep, their audience drowns in their words. Alejandro Bullon tells a story about an old man who told him: “I didn’t like your sermon this morning”. The reason? “I understood everything”. We sometimes believe that the more complicated the message, the better. Nothing could be further from the truth. The objective of the speaker is to take a complicated, difficult passage or problem and break it into digestible, chewable pieces that the audience can benefit from.  The best way to do this is to keep it real. Be real. John Maxwell says that “if you want to impress people, talk about your successes, if you want to impact them, talk about your failures.”

2. Who is this about?

Right off the bat, it’s important to know, who THIS is not about. It’s not about you. Preachers that are reading this can maybe recall a time they delivered a message that fell short (in their eyes at least) of expectations, yet people commented afterwards how much of a blessing it was. It’s not about you. Not about your ability. Not about your delivery. Not about your proficiency with the thesaurus. It’s about Jesus. About the cause. About the church. About the people who are listening. At the end of the day, if you make it about you, you will be left with you. No one likes self-centered speakers. Not even their spouses…

3. What message I’m I communicating?

For some reason unknown to me, some people think that beating people up produces change.  That in order to change people’s behavior, you must forever hammer them on their sin. Preaching that is centered on sin, produces sinners. Preaching that is centered on Christ, produces Christians. You choose. A fear based presentation changes people’s outward behavior temporarily, but a grace centered approach changes people’s hearts permanently. This doesn’t mean we shy away from hard topics, or present a watered down version of the gospel. It means you inspire people to reach higher, live better lives, you challenge them to aspire to rise above their present situation.


I have included a great power point presentation on how NOT to use power point. Hope your next presentation is a great one. Let me know what are some presentation secrets you have found to be helpful.

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