“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”(Helen Keller)
An effective speaker speaks from her heart and with humor. As she speaks, she must develop an atmosphere of openness and honesty as well as enjoyment. According to Gronbeck et al, the speaking atmosphere is the mind-set or mental attitude that the speaker seeks to create in the audience. The desired atmosphere is based upon the speaking situation, the speech’s purpose, and the listener’s expectations. However, a speaker must be open and transparent to connect with the audience.
Being an open and honest speaker is not always easy because of the uncertainty of the responses from people in the audience. I (Monica) struggled for years with an eating disorder which I kept secret from everyone except the Lord and my parents. As I was healed by the Lord and found absolute deliverance, opportunities for me to share what He was doing in my life presented themselves. My first opportunity was in high school when I was asked to meet with girls, who were struggling with eating disorders, and offer them hope. At times through the years, I have been hesitant to share my personal story with others. However, I have felt the Lord encourage me to share at specific times. When I have shared my personal story with others transparently, women have waited to thank me for my authenticity. Due to my openness, the ladies were open to the Lord for His healing touch! Authenticity from the speaker will always have a positive effect on the audience.
A Christian message from the heart must come from the heart of the Lord and the heart of the speaker. Sincerity and genuineness open the listener’s heart to the speaker. The message is more powerful when the speaker is passionate and earnest. Speaking from the heart reaches the hearts of others.
To speak from the heart, a Christian speaker must first hear from God. Then, she must be concerned for others and willing to share personally. She feels a burden for everyone to hear from the Lord and respond to His gospel of hope. When Jesus spoke, His words from the heart changed the hearts of those who heard Him (Luke 24:32).
I (Rhonda) recently asked a group of women: “Who is the most sincere and transparent speaker you have ever heard and why?” My interest was in the “why” more than the “who.” Of course, the consensus answer was Jesus because He is perfect. Actually, we can learn a lot about openness and sincerity from His sermons and personal encounters. The gospel of Mark alone records “they were all amazed” many times in response to the words of Jesus. The writer of Luke 1:41 reports that Jesus was moved with compassion and then spoke honestly and sincerely. The immediate and unrehearsed responses to my question above underscore the importance of speaking from the heart.
When asked for descriptions of a sincere speaker, this same group’s responses included the following:
- Authentic and endearing
- Down to earth
- Speaks the same to one or one thousand people
- Gentle, loving spirit
- Jesus oozes from her
- Gives glory to God
- Relatable, believable, personal
- Inspiring, convicting, captivating, enthusiastic
- Joyful personality and love for people.
Several comments about sincere speakers were very compelling: “She talks to me, not over my head; she listens without judgment, and speaks without condemning; and she doesn’t hide who she is, she shares warts and all.”
The most important thing about being a public speaker for the Lord is letting your heart come through. How can you infuse more of who He is and more who you are into your speaking opportunities?