So you want to be a better communicator. You’re just not sure how to do that.
Sometimes the art and science of becoming better seems so complex, you’re not sure where to start.
After all, most people who hear you talk can’t give you meaningful feedback. They can tell you whether they liked it or not, but rarely can they tell you why they liked it. Even if you did a great job, you will have a hard time repeating it if you don’t understand what made it great.
That’s why it’s so critical to get feedback and coaching from other communicators. They can often explain why your talk worked or why it didn’t, just like a hitting coach in major league baseball can help a .300 hitter become a .310 hitter by offering far more helpful tips than a simple “Hey, just strike out less.”
So in this post, two things. First, below, I share some of my favorite communication tips (including a few I’ve never written about before) that can make a surprisingly big difference.
Second, this week there’s an opportunity to get three hours worth of FREE Preaching Coaching. It’s a $299 value, but The Rocket Company is making a limited number of seats available at their online AMPLIFY Conference absolutely free.
You can join this virtual conference for free if you pre-register today (affiliate link). Join Jeff Henderson as he interacts with Dr. Charles Stanley, Lysa TerKeurst, Matt Chandler and Crawford Loritts.
It happens Wednesday, September 28, at 1:00 pm (EDT).
Want to know my favorite part of the event?
Jeff will select a few audience members (who have pre-registered) to evaluate their sermons LIVE on the air! Jeff has actually done that for me and the level of feedback he provides is astonishing and so helpful. So don’t miss out!
Register here for free.
So, let’s get better together.
Here are five simple tips that can definitely make you a better communicator before you give your next talk. They’ve definitely helped me.
1. Don’t memorize your talk, understand it
This may be my favorite speaking tip of all time. It just solves so many problems and reduces tension before you speak and while you speak.
I get asked all the time how I can speak for 45 minutes or even longer without looking at notes. I learned the secret when I was in seminary and asked Tom Long, a Princeton professor, how he did it.
He told me: Don’t memorize your talk; understand it.
He was right. Memorizing a talk is extremely difficult. Especially a longer talk. I personally find that trying to recall a memorized talk stilts your delivery because you can’t focus on the moment.
So instead of memorizing your talk, understand your talk.
Think about it. You do this intuitively when you talk to someone. For example, you don’t memorize inviting someone to dinner. (OK, maybe you memorized a dinner invite once, when you were asking that girl you had a crush on out on a first date…and remember how awkward that was? Point made…)
No, if you’re inviting a friend to dinner, you just intuitively know that you need to see if they’re free, set up the details, and maybe figure out where and when and who’s bringing what. Your conversation follows that flow.
Your talk is no different. It’s an introduction, a body, a conclusion and some transition points along the way. If you can grasp those main points, it’s amazingly easy to see how you will naturally fill the space in between with what you prepared.
You need to be familiar with your talk and you need to understand it, but you’ll never need to memorize it.
I wrote more on how to deliver a talk without using notes here.