Talk Like TED

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.

Quick Hitters

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.


Talk Now and Later Book Review

I had the privilege to take a look at Brian Dollar‘s new book Talk Now and Later and share my opinion. What a book! As I prepare to have my first child in November this book was so helpful as I think about all the meaningful conversations I will have with my daughter soon. This book is perfect for parents in all seasons of parenting — new parents, veteran parents, single parents, grandparents, etc. If you are a parent you should invest in your kids and get Talk Now and Later.

As Brian Dollar writes about talking to your kids about tough topics like death, sex, self-esteem, divorce, and many other topics; there were a few themes that ran throughout the entire book. These are my takeaways from Dollar’s book, Talk Now and Later:

  1. All the tough topics that are covered in the book need to be communicated time and time again. Communicating the truths that Brian Dollar discusses need to happen consistently and often. If parents wait until the tragedy comes to have these conversations they are too late. You might even have to schedule to have these conversations with your kids, but they should also happen randomly when they present themselves.


  1. To really communicate the truths that are covered in Talk Now and Later they need to be modeled and a part of your life and character as a parent. We can only communicate so much through our words. The majority of these topics are taught to our kids more through our actions than with our words. If I want my kids to be good stewards of their finances they need to see that modeled and practiced by me. This book challenged me to be the best person I can be. This can only be accomplished through a relationship with Jesus and being covered by His grace and mercy.


  1. Many parents are overwhelmed when they think about talking to their kids about these tough topics, but Talk Now and Later teaches parents to ask questions and help their kids process through the tough topic. Brian Dollar guides parents to ask questions like, “How did you respond?” or “Why is that?” He calls these questions “funneling questions”. Parents need to help funnel kids down to the very core of the issue to help your kids get clarity and answers. Dollar recommends using the phrase “Tell more about that” to help your kids process the tough topic or tragedy. We don’t need to know everything as parents to be great parents. Admit that we don’t know everything and help your child by asking them questions.


Talk Now and Later by Brian Dollar is a great resource for parents, teachers, and ministry leaders. I highly recommend it. You can grab your copy today HERE

Start With Why Book Review

Just like most of you who have heard of and read one of Simon Sinek’s books, I heard about him first during his TED talk that has been watched by thousand.

He is a great communicator and has a great theory that is presented and discussed in his book, Start With Why. Sinek talks about “the golden circle” and how it is built and used as a megaphone to communicate the vision and passion of the leader and/or organization. His passion is to inspire people to inspire others and I feel Simon Sinek was able to accomplish that in this book. After reading the book, I was inspired to communicate differently and be crystal clear in why I do what I do. This book gave me direction and organization to what is in my heart and spirit. His book goes to the top of my list and was a book that I needed to read in this stage in my life and ministry. This is a great book for anyone that wants to be a great leader and discovering the important things to communicate.

The Golden Circle


Quick Hitters

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. The essence of this book, Start With Why, is the first quick hitter. Start with why instead of what you do. Many organizations know what they do and make that their focus. But this book argues to communicate why first before communicating how you do it or what you are doing. Without the why the organization or ministry will not be as successful and focused as it could be. It is hard to do this because the way we communicate and listen at the biological level is that why cannot be communicate with words very well. The part that is easy to communicate is what. Do you want to take the easy way and communicate what or do you want to take the hard way, but the right way, and communicate the why. Start with WHY.

2. The goal is to inspire people to move forward and want to move forward with the organization and ministry. A lot of leaders get followers for a short time by using manipulations. In the business sector this is seen through sales, low prices, and advertisement. In ministry this can be seen in advertisements, decorations, events. While these things might get kids and families inside the doors it will not keep them there. When we communicate starting with why and inspire people they are more likely to stay and get connected. When we use manipulations you have to continue to one up yourself and other organizations in the same area. Manipulations aren’t sustainable and will make it harder to minister to people. Use manipulations sparingly.

3. The last quick hitter is about building the right team. No matter how great someone is at having vision and communicating that to the rest of society they need others that know how to put it I to reality. Most people that have a why are not very good at making that a reality and knowing all the nuts and bolts to make it happen. If you look at all those leaders that inspired others they had someone or a group of people getting things done. If your team is just visionary people then you will have lots of dreams, but no reality. Build teams that have a mix of why-types and how-types.

After reading this book I was able to discover my WHY…to break down barriers for kids to get to Jesus. From now on I will filter how I do everything and what I do through that filter.

The people that were successful were not smarter, faster, quicker, wealthier, but they all started with why.

Those are my quick hitters that I learned from this book:

Always start with WHY.

Use manipulations sparingly.

Build teams that have a mix of why-types and how-types.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.

How To Win Friends & Influence People Book Review

It amazes me how connected the world is. I believe that we live in the greatest era in history. We have the world at our fingertips. I say this because of an experience that I had a few months ago. I was watching a great #kidmin video that had a forum of kid ministry leaders, Frank Bealer, Andy Kirk, Nathan McLean, and Dave Wakerley. Here is the video I was watching

In this video Frank Bealer talked about finding someone you want to eventually be and learn from them. So I took to twitter and asked Frank a question. Long story short, we spoke on the phone and he recommended the book that I am going to review today, How to Win Friends and Influence People. He told me that I should focus on communication and dealing with people. The rest of ministry is just hard work. So I took his advice and picked up Dale Carnegie‘s book and devoured it.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a bunch of short chapters which has its positives and negatives. The positive is that you get little snippets, but the negative is that you get a lot of little snippets. It can be a little overwhelming as you get further into the material. The reason why Carnegie wrote this book was as a textbook for the class he was teaching. Carnegie wanted this book to be a text that was revisited over and over again. It wasn’t designed to be learned and remembered in just one sitting. The author wants the reader to read through it multiple times, which is a good thing to practice for most books.

To preface this book, this book is not about manipulation. It is about truly caring and wanting the best for people. When you have the other persons best interest in mind and care not about the results, but about the people involved. When you do that, the results will take care of themselves.

Okay! Now onto the review! Lets take a look at my quick hitters.

Quick Hitters

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. There is a quote by Charles Schwab that is the source of the first thing I want to increase in my life and ministry. It says, “The greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a  person is by appreciation and encouragement.” This has to be done in public and also privately. There is another quote that Carnegie continues to recount throughout the entire book and it says, “Be hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” I know some of these words are old words. What do you expect from a book from 1936!! It basically means don’t only notice when someone does something well, but let them and others know that he did something well. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are if you don’t communicate no one will ever hear your heart. This can be accomplished through handwritten cards, volunteer appreciation events, giving thanks from the stage/pulpit, and gifts. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

2. The next principle that I want to make sure is in my life and ministry is being empathetic and seeing life and situations from the other persons’ point of view. This is the crux of the book. The book always points back to this principle. I figured that if I didn’t make this one of my quick hitters I have failed as a reader and as a reviewer. The author states, “If out of reading this book you get just one thing – an increased tendency to think always in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle – if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.”  What a powerful statement and something that you cannot ignore. No matter what field you are in, but especially, in the people-focused field of ministry this statements rings true even after all of these years. Everyone life is different and the way we view the world and experiences is completely different. Look at life through the other person’s point of view.

3. The last quick hitter for How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is dealing with conflict. Now that I have been in ministry for a few years now I have come to realize that when you are dealing with people there is going to be conflict. People are going to let you down and you are going to let people down. We should take some pointers from our Eastern friends and let others save face. There is no need to humiliate and make the person feel like an idiot. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “What matters is not what I think of him, but what he things of himself.” Let them know that you believe in them even though you are disappointed. I hate when people just point out something wrong, but don’t try to help the person grow. We are doing no one a favor when we point out an error, but don’t give advice and give them a vote of confidence. Let the other person save face.

There are so many different things in this book that can make each one of us better spouses, parents, leaders, and people. If we can just apply a few of these we will be better for it. One last critique about this book is that it has many different stories in it. It is not just principles and boring materiel, but filled with stories as examples. It is more like a case study with principles being applied. It kept my interest better than other books on the same subject.

Those are my quick hitters for Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:

1. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

2. Look at life through the other person’s point of view.

3. Let the other person save face.

Read the rest of the book for yourself. There is much more to learn and only a limited amount of time.