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

Putting ‘Public’ into Speaking

Written by: on June 18, 2013

My public speaking journey began on a shaky note.  I was stationed in Ft. Yukon, Alaska for 10 months at a dew line radar site.  There were about 80 individuals at the isolated remote site and there was little more than tundra for hundreds of miles in all directions.  Only a few villages dotted the wilderness.  Personal interaction was limited to a hand full of individuals and one was seldom in a group larger than 20 at any time.  When my tour of duty ended and I returned home to my family and society in the ‘lower 48’ the unexpected happened.  I avoided places where people gathered and if I found my self in such a predicament, I quickly exited!  

Attending church was doable and the end of a service never came too quickly.  Being in a crowd was difficult, speaking to the crowd was even worse.  Having been called into the ministry, I had no idea how the Lord would deal with ‘His’ problem with me!  Much to my surprise and encouragement, I was able to speak without becoming overwhelmed.  In fact, I soon became comfortable addressing a crowd of any size.  I am thankful for His enablement.
I appreciated the transparency of Scott Berkun in his book The Confessions of A Public Speaker.  He shared his many experiences as a public speaker and he included the bad experiences he had and those that were his fault.  The assignment for this post is to note how the book will help me to change my speaking for the better.  Below are those notes:
  • I will respond to glitches with a positive attitude, realizing that as I respond, so will the audience respond.
  • I will practice my presentations more thoroughly.  I will pay particular attention to transitions and specially when using a slide presentation.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY FOR ME:  PRACTICE!
    • I will be sure I take a strong position in the title!
  • I will pay more special attention to those first moments when ‘the hush’ occurs and I have the entire audience listening.
  • I will keep in mind John Medina’s finding that 10 minutes is about as long as anyone will listen attentively at one time.  I will try to ‘shift gears’ every 8-10 minutes to keep the attention level up.
  • I will end early as often as possible!  I already try to do this but the reminder is appreciated.
Good book.  Thanks to Jason for putting it on the reading list. 

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