It’s difficult to get people’s attention. It’s even harder to keep people’s attention.
Making a speech is part communication, part theater. That’s right, you’re an actor/actress on a stage. You finally get your chance to make your presentation, your talk, your big speech. Now that you have their attention, you must now spend your precious time entertaining, as well as educating.
One of the most encouraging pieces of advice I’ve ever heard when it comes to public speaking: Your audience wants you to succeed. That’s great news. They want you to do well. They want to connect with you and your message. And the ones who deliver, the ones who are rewarded with the attention of their audience, are those who add a bit of drama to their presentation.
I’m telling you, a little drama can save your whole speech.
Listen to this…people are making a decision within the first 30 seconds about whether they can trust you, whether they’ll listen to you. That tells me I need to find some way to connect with my listeners…and fast.
But…what if I blow it in the first 30 seconds to 3 minutes? What if my opening bombs and people start checking out.
Is it over? Should I simply stop and refund everyone’s money?
I just got home from speaking at the SouthEast Oklahoma Youth Camp. They are a district of churches within the Church of the Nazarene. Camp was held at Camp Bond – a great campground in Tishomingo, OK.
The theme for the camp was Biggest Loser. Yes…the idea was stolen from a fairly popular reality tv show. My initial response to the theme raised two questions:
1. Did they choose the theme and then consider who might best represent the theme in their speaker?
2. Or did they choose me to speak and then think about what theme might best fit for me?
I had some fun (poking fun at myself…some people are afraid of heights – I’m afraid of widths) with the theme and having to speak with the giant biggest loser logo up on the screen every time I got up to speak. The real emphasis on the theme wasn’t on one’s weight, but on one’s ability to let go (LOSE!) all of those things that would get in the way of one’s walk with God.
I had the privilege of speaking at Real Life Church in Nampa this past Sunday. They meet in a Middle School gym and are pastored by a great guy by the name of Dana Hicks.
This is about the fifth time I’ve been invited to share with the people there. They are an encouraging mix of young and old who are authentically walking as a community in their spiritual journeys.
My talk was called: Listening – Must Be Present To Win.
If you’d like to listen to any or all of it, they’ve posted it on their website: Real Life Podcast (4/18/10)
During the talk, I speak about the importance of being fully present in order to fully listen. I think we live in a day where silence is quite scary for some of us. In fact, at one point I say, “In a world of too many words, silence affects people who are no longer affected by sound. Plenty of us who are defended against sound have no defense against silence.”
If you have a chance to listen or download the talk, let me know your thoughts and reactions in the comments.