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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sweaty Palms and Fidgity Fingers

One thing that bothered me in all my education is that there was no training in public speaking. For all of the classes (the hours and hours of classes) that I took getting through undergrad and graduate degrees in Bible and Ministry - I had zero classes on public speaking.

Sure, I had several classes devoted to the preparation and delivery of sermons, but none of them looked at the art of public speaking. The one class that I had on how to prepare a speech was my Freshman year in high school. Yeah. That's it. I took matters into my own hands and joined Toastmasters.

I have heard a lot of preachers, and most of them are good at their craft. But too often I come across someone who doesn't know how to communicate to a group. They have learned well the art of study and they are experts at determining the meaning of a biblical text, but when it comes to sharing what they have learned, they fail. This is not for lack of ability or effort, but for lack of training and knowledge.

I came across a review for a book that I want to read called Confessions of a Public Speaker, by Scott Berkun. In this book he examines not only the mechanics of speaking but the emotions and art of communication. PowerPoint can be a boon to an excellent communicator by giving them another way to get their message across, but to a poor communicator, PowerPoint makes the problem worse.

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