Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Confessions of a Public Speaker

Written by: on June 20, 2013

A few weeks ago in our D.Min class we talked about our weaknesses. I’ve known for a while that one of my weaknesses is public speaking. I’d rather be the behind the scenes guy that gets everything set up than the person who gets up and speaks about something. When I do speak or preach, I always use a manuscript. When I get up in front of people I have a tendency to loose my train of thought and will end up creating a point that I didn’t originally intend too. So, I was looking forward to reading “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Burkun in hopes that I might learn a few things that will help me. Because, I know that there are and will be times where I need to speak.

There are several ‘take-a-ways’ for me from this book and I hope to practice them the next time I speak.

       Practice: I spend a long time creating the text of a sermon but not nearly enough time practicing the verbal delivery. The next time I prepare a sermon I’m going to verbally practice the delivery of it and not just reading it to myself.

       Performance: Burkun challenges us to “Speak louder, take stronger positions and behave more aggressively than you would in an ordinary conversation” (Loc 1285). When I speak I have a tendency to be more timid and reserved. I need to let more of my natural self (which is much more animated) come through my speaking.  Viewing speaking as a performance is helpful for me.

       Weave Stories: I need to weave my stories and points together and practice my transitions. This will help keep me from getting lost when I move from point to point, which I have a tendency to do.

       Map it: The next time I preach I’m going to create a visual map of my presentation, in much the same way that I did my ‘Back of the Napkin” post. Having a visual of my presentation may help keep me on track.

I’m not sure when the next time I’ll speak will be, but I’m hopeful that these four ‘take-a-ways’ will help be more effective.

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