As a shy, quiet boy growing up who wasn’t really interested in talking to people or giving speeches or sermons, I have come a long way. I still have a lot more growth and learning to do in my presentation and public speaking skills. But, public speaking is a skill and can always be improved upon. You aren’t stuck where you are. You can always become better if you put in the work and the grit. I am always working on my craft of speaking and preaching to kids and to adults that’s why I picked up Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo. The premise of Talk Like TED is the results of watching every TED talk and discovering what they all had in common. TED talks are 18 minute long talks that are orchestrated by some of the top thinkers and leaders in the world on subjects in Technology, Education, or Design. Carmine discovered 9 traits that the most popular TED talks have in common and how we can make our presentations and sermons just as captivating and effective.
In this section of the book review, I will point out some sections of the book that I especially liked and will try to use in my own life, character, and/or ministry.
1. It Starts from Within.
The biggest take away from this book was that no matter what the topic is the content has to be a part of you and your passion. If you are not passionate about the content of your presentation then you will not be good at communicate the subject matter to the audience. I remember watching the show, The Voice, on one occasion and the celebrity coaches telling the contestants that they need to have emotion in their song and find something personal that you can relate to in the song. This same skill applies to public speaking. Singing is like a speech except your singing instead of talking. So the same truth applies. When you are giving a speech or a sermon get the content in your soul and in your heart. When you do that it will come across as important and convincing to your audience. You have to be passionate about the speech for your audience to be passionate about it. The congregation will feed off your emotions and passion. I am passionate about the Gospel. If I wasn’t passionate I wouldn’t be in ministry, but I need to spend time praying and applying the specific passage or lesson to me. If I don’t spend time applying the message to me personally it will be harder to communicate the message to others. That is why it is so important for your passion to be ‘hot’ as Bill Hybels says. When I make the message personal and I see how life-changing the Gospel is to me then I am ready and prepared to share the message on Sunday. This is the most important aspect of communication and preaching. Passion preaches.
2. Make it Memorable.
People are bombarded with information every second of the day. From instance internet access, to advertisements around every corner. There is something trying to grab our attention all of the time. To make your sermon or presentation stick and thought provoking you have to communicate in a way that makes it memorable. Carmine Gallo gives a few suggestions backed by science to make your talk memorable. The first is to keep your speech to 18 minutes. This is the goal for all TED talks. It is the perfect amount of time to communicate your point, while still keeping the audiences’ attention. The second is to use stories. People can relate to stories and place themselves in that situation. This gives them a bookmark to remember the content. The third is to teach your audience something new. When we are being taught it releases endorphins. Those endorphins help our brains remember the subject matter. Our goal is to have our audience remember something about our sermon and be able to apply it to their lives. We need to craft our sermons and talks to be timely, filled with stories and little tidbits of information that will peak the listener’s ear and memory. Make it memorable by having a 18 minute speech, filled with stories and interesting facts.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice.
This is the most obvious point, but it takes dedication and serious self-control to make this one happen each and every time you give a speech. I believe we have all been guilty of this. When we are preaching a familiar passage of Scripture we take shortcuts and don’t prepare as much as we should. We don’t practice like we should. When we have been doing this long enough we are confident in our abilities and don’t think we need to practice. I remember when I was in school and had to give a speech. I was practicing a week in advance. I would practice every day of the week. The night before I would stay up and practice over and over again in my head. Now when I get ready for Sunday I practice maybe once or twice. When we do not put in the time and practice we short change the kids we are talking to or the people that are listening. We have the most important content that can ever be communicated, the Gospel. Let’s not short change our congregation. Let’s practice, practice, practice.
It Starts from Within.
Make it Memorable.
Practice, Practice, Practice.
What a great book that gives you the facts and skills to make your next sermon or presentation a work of art. Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.