A public speaking tip

May 3, 2013 

Two days of professional education seminars, and my head was NOT spinning! Some speakers were good, and some were not so good, but I noticed a thing or two about the more effective presentations.

Those who conveyed their messages the best had a knack for teaching by storytelling, whether the stories were real life case studies or fictitious cases used to illustrate a point. No surprise there. Jesus did the same thing with little devices known as parables and commentary on current news stories, as in Luke 13:1-5.

And the speakers did something else. Ever notice how some speakers can’t get through a speech, sermon, or even a phone conversation without telling you about something particularly clever that they have done? Did you know that the most effective speakers at my two-day foray into Continuing Education Credits weren’t into those ego trips? In fact they did just the opposite, often with effective self-deprecating humor.

Having given a talk or two in my life, I know how easy it is to succumb to the temptation to tell the audience what a wonderful person I am, but I am also aware of hearing others do that very thing and feeling a little put of by it.

It reminds me of some of the statements that Paul made about glorying in his own sufferings (II Corinthians 11:30, 12:5-10). When recounting the circumstances surrounding his conversion, he owned up to the havoc he once caused the church. His message was one of grace because a loving God saved him from his failures and sins. When he was weak, God made him strong.

It should not be surprising that successful professionals on the speaking circuit have discovered the power of humility. It’s a natural law that generates a positive response. It’s also a notice that when someone never passes up an opportunity to tell you how wonderful he is, put your hand on your billfold and keep it there.

Lenny Cacchio is a resident of Lee’s Summit. He blogs at http://morningcompanionblogspot.com.

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