For many, the term "public speaking" conjures impressive mental images of huge crowds and perhaps a politician or self-help guru at a podium. Because most of us aren't politicians or self-help gurus (thank goodness), we don't have to worry about what it takes to be a good public speaker, right? Wrong.
Giving a presentation at work, preaching at your church, giving a speech at a wedding, delivering a prepared message to your Bible study group -- all are forms of public speaking. It turns out the need to be at least a decent public speaker hits closer to home than we might initially think.
Beyond simply not wanting to embarrass ourselves, doing those things well can actually be an important part of Christian life. If your topic is Biblical, it obviously glorifies God to do an excellent job speaking about it, but even on subjects or in groups that aren't explicitly Christian, public speaking done well still glorifies God. Respecting your audience and their time, delivering good content in a way conducive to learning, even just having an excellent spirit in us glorifies God. If it was true for Daniel, it's still true for us:
Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.Daniel 6:3
Fortunately we have Dr. Rick Goossen to help foster a spirit of excellent public speaking within us. Dr. Goossen is Chairman and Founder of the Entrepreneurial Leaders Organization, and he is the Founder and Director of the Entrepreneurial Leaders Institute, Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford where he teaches an annual executive education course.
Dr. Goossen has spoken publicly many, many times in almost any scenario you can imagine. He's listened to countless public speakers, some of them good and some of them... less than good. He's organized dozens of conferences and helped to train hundreds of the world's leading speakers. I've had the pleasure of watching him speak several times and his experience shows -- he's excellent.
In short, Dr. Goossen is uniquely qualified in the area of public speaking, and he's distilled that wisdom into his newest book, "Public Speaking Laws of Success: For Everyone and Every Occasion." Much like his public speaking, his book delivers interesting and valuable information in a concise, clear and engaging way.
Now is the time to start brushing up on your public speaking skills. Even if your goals are modest, you will find exactly the information you need in this book. Regardless of whether you're returning to in-person gatherings, or attending online groups, or both, Dr. Goossen has practical advice for both settings and any skill level.
Dr. Goossen and I shared a fascinating and fun conversation on Christian Post's Business in the Kingdom. Here are just a few of the questions we discussed:
- Why are jokes dangerous?
- What are the very basic rules that will make you better than 90% of public speakers?
- What makes preaching a unique public speaking challenge?
- How should you position your camera for a digital presentation?
- Does practicing make you sound scripted and boring or prepared and professional?
Jerry Bowyer is financial economist, president of Bowyer Research, and author of “The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.”