Now that I have begun delivering sermons for the Young Adult Ministry where I volunteer, I have become very conscious of the need and value of constantly improving upon my speaking skills. I am also interested in helping other people who want to improve their speaking skills do so by providing them with strategies that aid the public speaking process. Here are three strategies I think you should implement:
1. Write Out All Of Your Concepts.
This worked extraodinarily well for me yesterday when I prepared to deliver a sermon based on Romans 8:1. Although I was fairly familiar with the primary concepts discussed in that passage, writing out all of my thoughts as well as my summarization of extant commentary about the subject created a level of mental clarity which gave me confidence that I understood the topic I would be talking about. In addition to giving me confidence that I knew what I was talking about, writing out everything I planned to say in the sermon gave me the opportunity to put all of the concepts I wanted to convey in a logical order that would better enable my audience to comprehend the ideas I disseminated. Thus rather than being a hastily scrambled together panoply of non-sequential thoughts, my delivery was more capable of inducing a methodical assimilation of meaning in the mind of my listeners.
2. Practice The Entire Message Aloud.
This is very important because your speech may include words that you don’t use on a daily basis. This was certainly true for me yesterday when I prepared a sermon that included a reference to the word katakrima, the Greek word for penalty. (The English translation for the word katakrima is condemnation.) When you practice saying words you don’t usually speak aloud, you increase the likelihood that your delivery of them will reflect the verbal coordination and fluidity you want.
3. Deliver The Speech To A Friend.
Practicing your speech in front of a friend can be advantageous for many reasons. One of them is the fact that a friend can detect errors in your speech that you may be looking over. In addition to analyzing things such as factual errors or word fillers like “umm” and “uhhh,” delivering your speech to a friend can help them identify other problems such as poor posture, a lack of eye contact with the audience, and more. To get the most out of this strategy, ask your friend to use a professionally devised evaluation sheet that contains a variety of components that contribute to or detract from speech efficacy.
If you are interested in improving your public speaking skills, you should note that it is very possible. Although some people think that good speaking skills are a gift, others (including myself) argue that speaking well is a skill that can be learned and continually improved upon with time and practice. With that thought in mind, I think implementing the strategies I’ve listed above will be of great advantage to you. Good luck!
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