Tips for Public Speaking

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As teachers we want to continually develop our ability to communicate what's important to us to impact our students. Here is a list of some helpful tips to help us better communicate when we are asked to speak publicly.

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." William Arthur Ward

"He who dares to teach must never cease to learn." Richard Henry Dann

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." Unknown

"A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary." Thomas Carruthers

"{kids} don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are." Jim Henson

Before you speak

Leaders are readers – as a teacher part of your job is to read and research your topic.

Find a topic that you’re passionate about, or read it enough to where you become passionate about it. Remember that the more passionate you are about your topic, the more likely your audience will act on your suggestions.

Being a teacher means you are serving those you teach. You need to become the first to serve. Ask yourself why do you want to teach? What's your motivation? Is it to be seen and recognized by others? Or is it to serve others?

Start with your goals in mind. What do you want the students to leave with? Now how do you get to those goals?

Its a good idea to begin collecting stories, illustrations, and content that you can use in your teachings.

As you prepare your teaching remember that people's behavior is based on there beliefs. And that behind every sin is a lie that that person believes. So to help people change, we must change their beliefs first. So don't focus on their behaviors but their beliefs.

Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and it will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV) Why? Because to help people change, you’ve got to help them see the lie they’re basing their behavior on. That’s why when you know the truth, it sets you free.

Don't forget you don’t change people’s minds only God can.

Gain experience. Teach and speak whenever you get the opportunity. Experience will give you confidence. If you want to learn to play basketball, you play basketball, if you want to learn how to speak, you speak.

When speaking

First Pray – I can’t tell you how much this helps to calm your nerves and to invite God into something is a really good idea.

Be aware of your time and what you can do in that time. Don’t prepare a 10 point sermon to share over 15 minutes. Instead major on the majors. Find your one point and really focus on that.

Practice. Practice. Practice! You want to be comfortable with your material. This helps me find a good flow to my teaching, what content fits where.

Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience enjoying your speech.

Teaching is more than talking, its getting people to believe your message and apply it to their life. Its getting people to trust you and believe in you. Show people how to apply your lesson and change their lives.

"The object of teaching a child is to enable him to get along without a teacher.“ Elbert Hubbard

Know the audience. Greet people as they arrive, show them who you are.

Relax. Count to three before starting.

Start on a strong note! A shocking statistic or an interesting quote, or a powerful story are all ways to get your audience's attention.

Don’t apologize when you make a mistake, the audience probably won't even notice it.

Be yourself - Don't try to imitate others, because you will lose your authenticity.

Use your own stories - You tell them better and more comfortably, this doesn't mean you can't use other people's stories, but rather developing your own is a good idea. And when telling stories use your facial expressions, arms and hands to tell the story.

Look into the eyes of the audience, then speak.

Don't forget to smile! This was hard for me to do at first, but as you get more comfortable it will become more natural.

Express emotion with your facial muscles.

Use discussion questions to challenge your audience and help them process your teaching. They can discuss questions in groups of 2 or 4 or as an entire class.

After you are done speaking

Take criticism well. Learn and grow from it. Realize that a person is sharing with you to help you, not hurt you.

It takes courage to prepare a message, stand up and deliver it, and then sit back as people judge your work. But the world, and us, need courageous people.

Anonymous YWAMer

Need more help preparing your teaching read this article.