…we’ve got answers. Chapter 16 of Talking is a Gift is our “Question and Answer” chapter. We offer answers to specific questions about unique speaking opportunities. While there are three basic types of speeches (informative, persuasive, and entertaining), there are many different variations of talks and settings for speeches. Christian women, especially those in leadership, have many opportunities for speaking to groups, large and small.
On some occasions, a speaker will be asked to give a lengthier talk. Thorough research and preparation are essential to effective major speeches. Significant time must be invested before standing to speak. However, many other public speaking occasions, shorter and less formal, will arise in life and ministry. These also deserve time and effort in preparation by the speaker.
Formal public speeches will actually be rare. Informal types of speaking are frequent. People are asked to make announcements, give instructions, and provide introductions. Christians are often called on to read Scripture or pray aloud. Leaders frequently must speak when they facilitate a discussion session or preside over a meeting. Women must always be prepared to speak, and believers must always be ready to speak a word of witness (1 Pet 3:15). The Lord requires our best in any ministry opportunity. Experience gained in smaller tasks will prepare the Christian for greater ministry.
Here’s an example of a question we address:
Q1. How do I introduce a speaker?
Leaders are often asked to introduce a speaker on a program. Christians women may be asked to introduce a weekly Bible study leader, a workshop or seminar teacher, a keynote conference speaker, or someone giving a testimony. Introductions have purpose and can be effective or ineffective. Always do your best!
A1. First, realize that introductions for program guests serve a purpose.
A2. A guest introduction must be prepared carefully and prayerfully.
A3. A guest introduction needs to be delivered succinctly and sensitively. The length of an introduction should be in proportion to the length of the message. For instance, if a speech is brief (10 to 15 minutes), the introduction should be only one or two minutes. If a speech is longer (30 to 60 minutes), the introduction may be three to five minutes. An introduction must also be appropriate for the setting, occasion, and audience.
Keep these delivery techniques in mind when giving a speech of introduction:
- Connect the speaker and audience. The introduction is the connecting link between the speaker and the listeners. It should bring the two together and break down any barriers.
- Establish credibility. Present enough information to establish the speaker’s credentials, explain why the speaker is gifted on the subject, and give the audience a reason to listen.
- Highlight relevant accomplishments. Do not read an endless list of degrees or credentials. Do not give away the speaker’s message. Point out specifics which relate to the audience.
- Keep comments brief. Do not turn the introduction into a speech of your own. Keep it simple and short. Focus the attention on the speaker who is often a guest.
- Answer questions in the minds of the audience. Who? Where? What? Why? Give basic information about the speaker to answer unspoken questions.
- Speak with confidence. When it is your turn to introduce the speaker, get up quickly and try to speak without notes and without hesitation.
Remember these points when you give an introduction. Be brief. Be interesting. Be positive. And, try not to give away too much. The acrostic K-I-S-S is a good reminder for introductions: Keep It Simple, Sweetie!
More questions? Leave them in the comments below!