From Heart to Mouth!

The condition of your heart will determine the content of your mouth. You can only keep quiet on what you really think and feel for so long until the volcano erupts and someone eavesdrop’s in on what is really going on in your personal world. If you want to change the content of your talk, you must allow God to change the theme of your heart. When God changes your heart, his desires become your desires, his thoughts become your thoughts, his ways become your ways and his words become your words.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “The burning heart will soon find for itself a flaming tongue.” When your heart burns for God, your words will ignite and inspire passion in others.

IMG_1016.JPG

Simplify to Clarify!

Woman Shouting with BullhornIt’s been said that an academic takes something simple and makes it complex but a communicator takes something complex and makes it simple. There is way too much complexity in the world. Most of us are overwhelmed by information and more information leads to more complexity. Getting your message across to people requires you to cut through the complexity by keeping things simple and concise. The more detail, the less clear. Detail is ok for back of house but not for front of house, where people are going to see it. Jesus was a master communicator who took complex spiritual realities and tied them to everyday experiences and activities. Thus, 2000 years later, we are benefitting from the clarity Jesus lived and ministered with. Your message is too important to be unclear about it. Very few people can pull off clever and keep their message clear. Bother less about being clever and focus more on being clear. Your audience will appreciate you for it.

Keys to Communication!

IMG_1240I recently posted on Communication Carries Anointing and emphasised the importance of developing communication skills, both of a conversational and corporate nature. Here are some further tips to take your communication to the next level.

1 Big Idea! All good communication theory emphasises the centrality of 1 big idea. No matter what you are reading or who you are listening to, ask yourself 2 questions, “What is the writer/speaker talking about?” AND “What is the writer/speaker saying about what they are talking about?” In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is talking about “Love” but in context of 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 he’s saying that love should be the motivation for why we do what we do, especially in the arena of spiritual gifts. Listen and look for the 1 big idea. A great read on this is “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon Robinson.

Clarity trumps clever! A lot of us want to be clever but very few of us can pull it off. However, clarity will trump clever every time. Stop trying to be clever and work hard on making your ideas as concrete and clear as possible and people will connect with them more. Confusion in the pulpit will lead to confusion in the pew. Putting your ideas to paper helps clarify them. A great resource for this is a book titled “Make it Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath (I think).

Anointing doesn’t make up for lack of discipline! Practice, Practice, Practice. Every Friday morning for 2 years I practiced my weekend sermon in an empty auditorium with my parents listening and critiquing my content and presentation.

Tell lots of Stories! Everyone loves a good story. A good story will communicate your principle for you. Learn to tell stories well by finding them in your everyday life and start sharing them with anyone who will listen. The more you tell, the better you’ll get.

Listen to Good Communicators! There are a plethora of opportunities to listen to great communicators. Don’t just listen to be entertained but go behind their communication and listen for how they approached their subject. TED and iTunes is a good place to start. Check out Corey Turner Ministries (shameless plug 🙂

Develop Conversational Intelligence! Read Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser and put the principles into action.

Read and Listen! The more you read the more you’ll deposit into your mind a dictionary of words that you can pull out as you need them. Listening improves speaking. Ask good questions and then listen for the response. Log the response away in your heart and act on it at your next opportunity.

Structure your Outline! Don’t outline your notes into paragraphs but develop structure. Write your point and then explain your point, illustrate your point and apply your point. Transition to the next point and repeat the process.

Pray, Pray and Pray Some More! Our words are fruitless without the Holy Spirit. Ask for fresh fire and flow with the leading of the Spirit as you speak.

Your Future is in your Mouth!

images-15When you pray, whatever you desire, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. Mk 11:24

Too many of us “pray the problem” when we should be “prophesying the solution”. Jesus didn’t say ‘pray the problem’, he said, ‘pray your desire’ and believe that you have received it. Your prayer life may need a renovation. You may be guilty of praying too much, ‘Houston, we have a problem’, rather than, ‘Heaven has a solution’. It’s too easy to become pre-occupied with our problems than to pay attention to our words. If you become more word-conscious and less problem conscious, your problems will lose their power in your life. Magnify your words and you will minimise your problems. Words are powerful, they have creative power in them. The power of life and death is in the tongue. Jesus said, ‘If you speak to the mountain to be removed, it will be’. Too often we complain about the mountain, we spend inordinate time defining the mountain, we take pictures of the mountain to show our friends but Jesus said, ‘Speak to the mountain’. Nothing moves until you speak to it. Your future is in your mouth!

Tips for Public Speaking

I talk for a job, I talk for my living, I talk for my calling, and there is nothing that frustrates me more than hearing poor public speaking at times when effective communication is required and critical.

I’m writing this as I sit in an event that had a speaker that really struggled and turned me off very quickly.

All of us have sat through speeches at a wedding, funeral, party, church service or significant corporate event and either squirmed in our seat or been captivated by the dynamic or lack of words, ideas and images that poured forth from the individual talking.

When given an opportunity to speak publicly, in whatever capacity, we should consider it a privilege and thus take it seriously. Why? Because for a minute, 10 minutes or an hour we have an opportunity to influence people in one of the most effective ways available to us.

History has revealed to us that speaking, preaching and teaching has been the core vehicle used in every culture to transmit important and life changing information. It’s never going away, no matter how far technology advances. Why? Because someone will always need, require or desire, someone else to communicate to them important information.

If the Gospel is worth communicating, it’s worth communicating well. The letter of Romans in the New Testament exhorts those with the gift of speaking, to speak as the Oracles of God.

How do we speak as the Oracles of God?

Speak after Preparation – Impromptu speaking can work effectively if the individual is very sharp on their feet and has had years of training but 99% of the time you will need to prepare. Time fails to fully articulate all of the insights and principles needed to learn how to prepare for speaking thoroughly but a well prepared talk, speech or sermon is better than an impromptu one. Experts tell us it takes about 10,000 hours to become world class at any skill or task. The best time to start preparing for speaking is now. Read, study, record thoughts and ideas on paper and remember a sermon gets better with age, just like a good wine. Talk out your thoughts and ideas for your talks with a loved one or any passer by that will listen to you. Just talk. The key to great speaking is preparation, preparation, preparation.

Speak with Clarity – If it’s unclear in the pulpit it will be mass confusion in the pew. Work hard to keep it simple and keep it clear. Forget about being clever. People don’t remember clever, they remember clear.

Speak with Passion – Your topic could be on ‘Stamp Collecting’ but if you speak about it passionately, people will listen to you. Passion attracts an audience and people respond to passion. If you’re going to speak, please speak with passion.

Speak with Insight – We don’t need more information, we need insight that will help crack the code of people’s hearts. Insight comes from reading between the lines. Insight isn’t always obvious, it’s never on the surface, it’s hidden and you need to search it out. It requires you to think hard and it requires inspiration. Inspired thinking comes from a real, tangible relationship with Gods Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspires our thoughts and brings to our minds and hearts ideas and revelations that end up in books, sermons and human hearts. Pray for insight, study for insight and record your insights. Why? The world needs them. We’ve got enough unhelpful information. We are saturated with information. We need insight.

Speak into the Context – Speaking to an audience is never in a vacuum. Understand the context of your speaking engagement. The audience, the venue, the expectations, the outcomes and hit the target.

I really believe if you put these tips into action you will become a better speaker and maybe impact someone’s life.

The Oracle!