Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever
In Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever, Karen Hough does a great job of poking holes in some of the traditional wisdom on public speaking and giving some good, practical advice that will help anyone do a better job of communicating.
I thought her comments on the importance of passion were great, such as “passion overrides technique.” I think it’s true that people would rather listen to someone who is passionate than someone who is slick. That seems self-evident, but it isn’t as easy as it might seem, especially if you are teaching on a regular basis, as most pastors do.
The reality for pastors is that we aren’t equally passionate about every topic. And that’s where the challenge comes in. If we only teach the topics we are passionate about, our people will get a very lopsided diet. So what does that mean for the topics that we are less passionate about, even if we know they are important?
The key, I believe, is that we need to develop passion for the topic. That can be done with any topic. It requires taking time with the topic before God, meditating on it, thinking about how it applies to ourselves and to our people, and asking God to give us his heart and his perspective on the topic. I’ve seen God respond to that over and over; I think he delights in giving us his heart for his truth. It means taking time, which we often think we don’t have. But if we know that passion trumps technique, it is worth taking the time to develop it.
I also thought it was a good reminder that our audiences want us to do well. I don’t think about that very often, but it’s true—nobody listening to a talk wants the presenter to do poorly. It’s encouraging to remember that those who are listening to us are for us, not against us.
The last thing I noted was the importance of stories and that they are much more powerful than explanations. I know that; it’s a staple truth of every book on preaching or public speaking that I have ever read. Yet I find in myself a strong tendency to do the opposite. I want to explain things; I want people to understand the topic or point, and stories don’t always do that.
Stories do two things—they move people to action and they make things memorable. And that is what you want if your goal in speaking is life change rather than just giving a “good” talk. Knowing that has already helped me to take another look at some of my upcoming topics with fresh eyes, and it has motivated me to start looking around for good stories to use. After all, life change is really the whole point.
What do you think?