For over thirty years Florence Littauer opened the CLASSeminar with these words: “Do you have anything to say and does anyone need to hear it?”
In a day when we are constantly bombarded with messages that come in a multitude of forms, this is an important question to ask yourself. If your answer is yes, what do you do about it?
When men and women come to me and ask what they should speak on, the first thing I ask them is, “What are you most passionate about? If you could only speak on one topic, what would it be?” Speak about what matters most to you. Often you will find this is some part of your testimony or life story.
We all have a testimony, a story to share. Does that story encourage, equip, or educate your audience? Every presentation must be interesting, engaging and relevant. Our material must be clear and to the point. Our goal should be to change lives through our message.
Let’s look at Jesus. His messages had only one focus. He spoke about what He was most passionate about. His point was always clear and concise. He moved the people to action.
Dr. Peter Kuzmic, a foremost evangelical scholar in Eastern Europe and Professor of World Missions and European Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, said this, “A credible message needs a credible messenger because charisma without character is a catastrophe.” In the world today we are witnessing this very thing. Avoid this trap at all costs.
Here are some ways to craft a message with impact:
- Start with a strong point. Make sure it’s clear and concise. When your audience walks away you want them to remember the point.
- Use stories to illustrate your point. This was one of Jesus’ strengths. He used stories to exemplify his message. Stories engage the audience. The people will relate and identify.
- Give helpful tools. There’s nothing more frustrating than hearing someone share how they lost weight or overcame challenges and then not hear how they did it. Someone in the audience needs directions so that they can accomplish the same thing.
- Challenge your audience in your closing. Don’t just leave them hanging. Give them a charge, a goal to take what you have taught and shared with them and go out and do something with it. If our goal as Christian communicators is to transform lives then ask yourself what should your audience do or feel or change because they heard or read your message.
These are just a few of the techniques we have taught in the CLASSeminar for over thirty years. Techniques to help speakers and writers prepare dynamic, effective messages that will impact the lives of their audiences.
Our lives are filled with words. Make your words count. Let them be the words that will make a difference.
The next time you sit down to write, or go out to speak, ask yourself, “Do I have anything to say and does anyone need to hear it?” Then ask this question, “How will it change lives?”