“Although God may not have called us all to be speakers, I believe that He wants us all to have the ability to communicate in a way that impacts, ignites and inspires everyone we speak to.”
Public speaking champion and author, Malachi Talabi, shares some insight on how to give a memorable speech and impact the world through the power of the spoken word
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” (John 1:1)
Words are powerful. God spoke the world into existence with words, and preachers have stirred the hearts of many with their words. TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer and the like update their Facebook status and receive thousands of likes, comments and shares – often within minutes – simply because they have developed their ability to speak and touch and transform lives with their words.
Although God may not have called us all to be speakers, I believe that He wants us all to have the ability to communicate in a way that impacts, ignites and inspires everyone we speak to. If you can speak well, doors will fly open for you in many ways.
I remember being asked to speak at a friend’s wedding a few years ago, and feeling a bit apprehensive about it. I wasn’t a speaker then (and didn’t want to be either!), but I gave the speech and somehow I got a standing ovation at the end. Little did I know that this was a divine set-up from God – the Youth Pastor from my church was there, and two weeks later I was speaking in front of over 40 young people in my first real taste of public speaking.
A month after this, God led me to an organisation called Toastmasters, who train people in public speaking and leadership. I joined, and within three months I won the South London Humorous Speech contest. Six months later, I was the UK and Ireland International Speech Champion, holding a ticket to Las Vegas to compete against some of the best speakers in the world in the semi-final rounds.
Through this process, God illustrated to me that if you can speak well, doors really will fly open for you. You may be called to speak at a wedding or business meeting, to give a church announcement or even deliver a sermon; here are three tips to help you give a good speech, whether you are already a confident speaker or just starting out:
Pick your POINT
Have you ever heard a sermon where the preacher is moving on stage, spitting and shouting, but he has made no point, so you leave church wishing you stayed at home and watched football or cooked dinner instead?
Every speech you give must have a point, otherwise it is not a speech at all. Ask yourself, “What do I want my audience to think or do differently as a result of hearing me speak?” The answer to this question is the compass for your speech, and will have you well on your way to offering something of value to your audience. Your point is the leg your presentation will stand on.
Practise your PHRASE
I have listened to many speakers in my time, but I only remember the presentations that have phrases in them, for example, Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, and TD Jakes’ “Woman, thou art loosed”.
The best preachers and speakers create a phrase, and then get the audience to repeat it to embed the words and drive the message home. You must have heard a preacher say, “Turn to your neighbour and say, ‘There is a reason for this season’”, or something along those lines.
In your next speaking opportunity, make a phrase which is short and snappy, related to your message and, where possible, involves alliteration, rhyme and repetition. Repeat the phrase a few times in your speech, or get your audience to repeat it. With a phrase that stays, your audience may forget your speech, but they won’t forget your phrase and chances are if they remember your phrase then they are likely to remember your message!
Provide a PARABLE
The number one secret to great public speaking is to master the art of storytelling. Stories are modern-day equivalents of parables; they are entertaining, and they liberate an audience to learn for themselves.
Jesus used the power of stories to lead His audience into making their own decisions. I won the UK and Ireland public speaking contest round by round, because I told a personal story that connected with my audience and with the judges. If you master storytelling, you will soon be unforgettable as a speaker!
Remember, life and death are in the power of your tongue (Proverbs 18:21), so use your words well, and watch the doors fly open for you.
Malachi Talabi is the 2011 UK and Ireland Toastmasters International public speaking champion and the author of 7 Minutes to Win It: Impact, ignite and inspire your audience in just 7 minutes of speaking.
For more details, visit www.malachitalabi.com.