"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
I'm currently taking a Seminary Wives Institute course called Public Speaking for Ministry Wives. We've given four speeches so far, including our personal faith story, an introduction to a keynote speaker, and a devotional message. Yesterday's assignment was a topical speech. Since I was addressing other ministry wives, people who may move many times in their lives, I presented Map Book 101: finding your way around a new city. You can see that my own trusty map book was my visual aide (A thank you to our friend Richard F. for getting me hooked on map books in the first place!) ~
Our class meets in one of the seminary's preaching practicum classrooms...so that we can be videotaped. Ugh! Watching myself on video is painful.
I've learned some valuable lessons from this class. Most notably, when preparing to speak at an event, START EARLY! Granted, we were only given one week to prepare each speech. But , for the past two weeks, Tuesday nights have been miserable for me (and probably my whole family), as I've tried to "cram" my preparation in at the last minute.
I've also learned some things that sound obvious, but are helpful to remember:
1. Use descriptive language. Word pictures are powerful.
2. Good illustrations are all around me if I'm looking for them.
3. Reading and personal Bible study are the best sources of speaking material.
4. Choose a theme for the speech and stick with it to the very last statement.
5. Know your audience.
6. It's okay to intensify a story, but not to exaggerate. There is a difference.
7. End with a challenge.
The assigned reading is a book by Carol Kent called Speak up With Confidence. It's filled with concrete examples and step by step instructions for public speaking in Christian ministry.
I have one more week of speech class. The last class will be an extemporaneous speaking exercise where we will each be interviewed by an SWI faculty panel.
Fun, challenging, intimidating, and great experience.