- Decide whether you want to deliver a speech or motivate your audience to take action. The two are not the same. You’ve got to choose one or the other. The first one is fairly easy to prepare for. The second? Not so much. It requires viewing life through another’s eyes, feeling their hurts, anticipating their struggles, and showing them the way out.
- Talking and communicating are not synonymous. Just because you said it doesn’t mean everybody else got it. Too often, communicators build speeches that they like the sound of instead of preparing a message that appeals to the audience they will be addressing.
- To communicate well, you must genuinely like people. Arrogance and snobbiness always bleed through.
- Nobody cares what you think. Unless they’re part of a punchy comedy routine, your opinions get mighty tiresome after about thirty seconds. Give folks facts and principles they can apply and improve their lives. Be able to document everything you say. If you can’t prove it’s accurate, trash it.
- Don’t wax eloquent on subjects you don’t know well. In one of my first sermons, I elaborated on the messiness of animal sacrifices and how the sheep must have reacted when the priests prepared them for the altar. After the service, I shook hands with an old man who looked me in the eye and said, “You don’t know much about sheep, do you?” That’s all he said, but that’s all it took. When you don’t know all the details, I recommend underselling.
- Don’t milk another man’s cow. A few weeks ago, a bunch of us were listening to a preacher online. Midway through his sermon, my son opened YouTube and played a clip of a popular comedian. He and the preacher were telling the same stories. The same illustrations told in exactly the same way. The kids listening loved the comedian. The preacher became part of the joke. He still is.
- Perception is reality. Your audience isn’t going to leave talking about what you said; they are going to go home talking about what they heard. Lessons on child training, for example, can sound like mocking ridicule to parents of wayward children. Presentation is just as important as content.
- Don’t blame the audience for not getting your point. It’s your job to paint the picture for them. If there is a disconnect, it’s probably your fault.
- Don’t talk down to your audience. Treat them like they are adults who have a healthy dose of good sense. Find common ground. Build a bridge. Make a connection. You don’t get bigger by making those around you smaller.
- Be confident, but don’t be a jerk. If you have to keep reminding your audience of how tough and cool you are, well, you probably aren’t very tough or cool. Give it a rest. If you are tough, they will see it without you having to show them. If you aren’t, they will see right through all your posturing. Make it about them and not about you.
I’ve told my wife a hundred times, “If I could only spend one month in a little house on the beach, I could complete all these writing projects I’ve started.” She’s never offered to send me or help me find the ideal spot.
It’s like nobody can see the literary masterpieces trapped in my soul begging for release. Even more discouraging, the world doesn’t seem to care if they ever get set free.
I know it wasn’t when I was in school. I hated to write! And I’m confident it wasn’t when I was in college. I vividly recall the day Sister Mary Lou Myrick scanned the classroom and declared that some of us would become writers, perhaps even editors of magazines and literature. I remember grunting that I wouldn’t be one of those, but here I sit, thirty years later, having written a couple of books, a few lessons for adult Sunday school classes, and, yes, I even edited a magazine for a few years.
Buy the ebook by clicking this link:
— This post is the third in a series of five in which I discuss the five books that helped me the most in 2014. At the conclusion of this series, I will be giving away copies of these books, plus a few others, to folks selected at random from our email community list. You can join by filling out the short pop-up coupon. Thanks for reading! —
I stumbled upon this book while seeking to improve my writing skills. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to understand the power of story. It’s not only our greatest source of entertainment, but it is the most powerful teaching tool available. Save The Cat! is a successful screenwriter’s effort to share with other writers how to effectively tell, or in his case, write, a story.
(To read the rest of this post, click the READ MORE link at bottom left)
Every half-second, somewhere in the world, somebody creates a brand-new blog, joining the 152,000,000 that already exist. That’s a lot of traffic flowing down Al Gore’s information superhighway.
So, which ones should you read? Other than this one, of course.
One blog that should be on your must-read list is Michael Hyatt’s. If you are unfamiliar with him, I’ll give a quick rundown on why his blog is essential reading.
I don’t want to ruffle any professional feathers, but the Professionals don’t always get it. I don’t know if they stay locked in their stuffy offices too long or if they are mesmerized by their own bios, but something, somewhere occasionally gets disconnected.
The book series Chicken Soup For the Soul? It was rejected 144 times. Professional publishers, one hundred and forty-four times, said they had no time for that chicken soup stuff.
Twelve publishers and sixteen agents rejected John Grisham’s A Time To Kill.
Seventeen publishers turned down The Princess Diaries.
Thirty-eight said no to Gone With the Wind.
What were they thinking? Or were they?
Working my way through a used book store, I stumbled upon a copy of Louis L’Amour’s memoir Education of a Wandering Man. I had found the book in my public library years ago and enjoyed his stories, but this time his comments on the craft of writing caught my attention. Here is an example found on page 54.