Why is it important for us to be able to communicate?
Well, to start with, a survey conducted by Distinction discovered that, of the executives and entrepreneurs surveyed, more than 86 % said being able to present effectively has a significant impact on their income and success.
Back in December 2005, I was asked to give my first sermon at our church. It was the Christmas Day message. Christmas Day was one of the most well-attended days in the church calendar. Even the most irreligious individuals come out to celebrate at the Christmas Day service out of tradition. When I was given
the opportunity to speak I considered it a great privilege and accepted it gladly.
However, as the day drew nearer the thought of delivering a sermon in front of an audience of hundreds of people became more and more daunting. In our church there are a number of great orators, male and female, young and old.
It seemed that they were all able to make the audience laugh, whilst delivering a powerful and challenging message. Something I couldn’t see myself doing, yet here I was stepping into the shoes of these people. “I can’t make people laugh,” I thought. “How can I step into their shoes?”
I began fasting, praying and studying to prepare. But I became so nervous that I resorted to copying many other sermons from other people. I wasn’t confident in what I had to say.
It made sense to me at the time- but it was still a concoction of my thoughts and lots of other peoples’. I remember standing on the pulpit that Christmas Day and shaking like a leaf. Reading my sermon line for line, hardly lifting my head to take a breath; I read through it as quick as I could and got to the end of the message in no time at all.
The Lord was surely with me because the response to the message was unbelievable! Numerous people came forward that day to make a decision to dedicate or rededicate their lives to Christ. I was in a state of shock that my presentation had got such a response.
I look back on that day now with fond memories and I smile because I know how scared I was and what it took me to get up on that stage and hold my own. And now, of course, years later and with much more experience, I can quite easily deliver a talk or sermon without having any notes. Most weeks I will speak to
audiences of at least 100 people 2-3 times a week. Rather than being afraid to get up and speak, I now find great pleasure in getting up and sharing my stories or experiences with audiences.
The message here is that ‘we all have to start somewhere’.
The more you speak the better you will get. If you are serious about developing your speaking skills, my recommendation is that you join a speaking club, like the Professional Speaking Association, where you will get opportunities to speak in front of an audience and receive constructive feedback and meet other like-minded individuals.
With that said, here are a few specific tips to help you become a better communicator:
1. Remember that every successful speaker had to start somewhere
2. Take and make as many opportunities to speak as you can
3. Learn from the best
4. Get clear on what your core message is
5. Remember it’s not about you
6. Give a clear introduction
Your audience will only engage if they believe that you believe what you’re saying. Communicate with belief and passion. Keep trying, never give up, and in time you will grow in confidence and technical ability. If you speak more, you will speak better.