Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Know your point - make your point.

Speaking in front of a group can be intimidating, but it is also a necessary leadership skill. To paraphrase Will Rogers: when speaking, a person should (1) stand up, (2) say what he knows, and (3) sit down. If preachers would do this, we would all go to lunch earlier.

That's good advice. I recently listened to a speaker who had lots of good things to say - the problem was that he had so many good things to say that he lost his impact. He tried to make too many points. If you really want to impact people with your message, stick to one main point. If nothing else, the discipline of thinking through your message and synthesizing it into one main point will help you better understand what you are trying to say.

Once you have your main point, you need to do three things with it.
  • Explain your point - Provide supports for your idea. Why is your idea important? Where did you get this idea? If a book or another speaker inspired you, say so.
  • Illustrate your point - Find a story or object lesson that embodies your main point. This is the part that people are most likely to remember, so spend time preparing this one. If a particular story does not fit your point, no matter how great the story is, don't force it. Find a better illustration or you will only confuse people (I know this from experience).
  • Apply your point - Rarely do leaders give speeches that are purely theoretical. If your message is true, then your hearers need some way to apply that truth to their lives. Give them a specific action they can do after your speech.
I learned those three steps in a preaching class I took when I attended seminary, but I have found them useful whenever I address an audience (and yes, I even use a variation of this in my classroom).

Know your point. Explain your point. Illustrate your point. Apply your point. Then you will make your point.

IDEA LEADERS: (1) Who are your favorite speakers? (2) What makes them so effective? (3) How can you apply these steps this week?

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great information. I really like your blog Stan. Keep up the good work. It was a pleasure meeting you last night.