Public speaking

To speak with eloquence is a skill that is not easy to come by.  There are those gifted with such eloquence and there are those who have to spend money and put in many hours of practice to get the gift. I wonder how effective such courses for public speaking are, but I do believe that hard work would always pay off. Even those who are not very conversant with such public skills can still make it. I do know of people who need to speak in public and some of them sometimes stutter and stammer; still, the goodness of our Lord is evident and their speeches, once delivered, are quite  acceptable. The speeches do not leave one in doubt about points raised. There are generally clear but lacking in oomph, perhaps. Still, it is enough that one gets the message right, and that is quite enough, isn’t it?

Dale Carnegie public speaking  sessions were popular and I signed up for 14 sessions many years ago. I was young and interested to learn anything that would help me to communicate better. Being in a school, it would be natural for me to think that no one needs to learn how to speak perfectly.  But public speaking is really fun. I recall the hecklers’ session,  and I am glad I got through that without any problem. Of course, such situations are not so common in the place where I live. It is still worthwhile learning.

My enthusiasm and my desire to do well  got me through and I even had the chance to do 14 more sessions. It was a blessing for me but then, being so worldly, I did not know how to see the hand of God in providing for me. Thank you, Lord!

As a graduate assistant, I was to give good sample talks. I also had to remember up to twenty items and when tested I was not to make any mistakes.  Thank God I did not!  Talk about tension, and I want to say that I thank our good Lord for lead ing me all the way.  I also saw for myself how the facilitators were quick to affirm those who made the slightest improvement. Then I also understood the times when what I was certain of attaining had to be given to others. That turned out to be so reassuring. Praise God!

In that particular course years ago, I saw many professional  people struggling to excel, and I could hardly believe that fear of speaking in public ranked so high on the list of fears.  Praise the Lord!  Many of my course mates then were in top managerial positions . They were very successful people of the world who had presentations to make, and they could not afford to be second best. Yes, I remember a few of them still and I remember the couple who migrated to Canada soon after. I wonder how they are. The lady said a sentence to me which I still remember. “I have spent the first 38 years for my own interests; the next 38 years will be for the Lord!” She was a Christian while I was a pagan then.  

 Today, I cannot say that I am better than many others. In  fact, I have never really thought about public speaking  in the form of self assessment. All I can say is that I have been  told that I could be what people call a motivational speaker. That is good. I want to evangelise. I want to share the Word of God. I want to be always ready to stand up and be counted as a disciple of the Lord!

Do all public speaking classes churn out motivational speakers? I would attribute mine to passion to evangelise those who have not come to know our Lord. So it seems natural that I can speak that enthusiastically only because I believe in the faith given me. My own ideas don’t really count. I am grateful for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and He is the Teacher and the Counsellor and the Helper close at hand. Thanks be to God!

Talking about captivating an audience and leaving an impact, I can remember the way a Toast Master speaker impressed me. The topic was on packaging, and the speaker had the grace to speak about  natural packaging. Of course, at that time I could only think of natural packaging as created stuff. I had not a clear notion about our Master Creator, and surely, He can never be wrong.

So it was with much enthusiasm that I listened to the male speaker who  brought up only four items that served as his visual aids.  I remember  a small ground nut, a red apple, an orange and a pea . . .  all so fascinating. I had no idea what the speaker wanted to say about them.  Today I thank God that He is the perfect Master Creator.  He makes all things beautiful. A good design is not only good to look at but is highly functional. It has been years since I heard that speaker give his short presentation using visuals. I still remember and that speaks well of the one who shared, does it not?  Praise God!