In Christian history, one of the greatest speakers was known to be Chrysostom, the fourth century Church Father and Bishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom was known as the “Golden Tongued Orator.”
Chrysostom was a champion of great speaking and was known to deliver the best content.
As a minister and professor, no doubt, I place a high degree of importance on the “content” of my message or lecture.
But some speakers pay attention to WHAT they will say to the neglect of HOW they say it. In fact, some speakers have consistently neglected the development of greater speaking skill and even criticize good speaking and good speakers AS IF those speakers are less serious about their content than the less-than-stellar speaker. That’s too bad.
Speaking prowess is more important than one may think. Don’t take that to mean that HOW WELL we speak is “more important” than what we say… but it’s naive to neglect your speaking and to underestimate the importance of skill.
Preparing to Speak
Lots of preachers, teachers, and speakers of all types spend a dozen or two dozen hours of preparation for their talk, only to spend all or nearly all of it on the CONTENT (exegesis, outline, etc.) without spending much on technique or method. Why is that?
A book I was reading on speaking a while back reported that 93% of our impact in speaking is related to the EMOTION-PASSION and PROWESS of the speaker. Having said that, while the “raw material” itself is crucial and all-important, that content may or may not be heard and hindered by the listener if the speaker cannot deliver the goods so it can be heard and received, then applied.
The truth is that a speaker simply doesn’ t have 10 or 20 minutes to sell the audience. In fact, you don’t have even 5 minutes. Your first impression is made in seconds, not minutes. So to command an audience, you need to sell your stuff up front– hook the listener quickly, then bring the bacon.
In other words— as a speaker, bring the HEAT, then bring the MEAT.