How To Speak With Authority

I was jealous.  In my third year of ministry we booked a guest speaker on purity.  Everyone was engaged and into it.  I couldn’t believe it.  I would constantly struggle to get their attention.  I wondered, “What was the difference?” He spoke with authority.

It can be difficult to engage teenagers.  To compete with what is going on their lives is a challenge.  They are constantly told one thing over another and need help sorting it out.  Content is important, but it’s not the only thing.  If you do not know how to deliver your message with authority no one will listen.  

To speak with authority means to have control and command over your audience.  In other words people are fully engaged.  When they are engaged they will listen.  To speak with authority you need to:


Speak with confidence and people will listen.  To have confidence you need to believe in what you are saying and know your material back and forth.  To own your content:

  • Study the material.
  • Memorize important parts (or all of it if possible).
  • Work on tone.

If people feel like you have control of your material they’ll see you as an expert in your field.


You want people to feel like your message is directed at them.  That means understanding who you are talking to.  To do this you need to:

  • Identify your audience (Who needs to hear this?)
  • Look at what competes for their attention
  • Understand the pressures and expectations they face.

Take what you learn and use it to develop examples and illustrations.  When they trust that you know them they’ll trust you to direct them.


People don’t just want information they want to direction.  Authority is giving people a purpose behind the information you are delivering.  Let them know why what you are saying is important and then give them the steps to test it out.  To give them the best challenge make sure it is:

  • Clear (Make it memorable)
  • Tangible (Give concrete examples)
  • Achievable (Share ways you’ve seen it achieved)  

Your clear instruction will build confidence.  And if you build their confidence they’ll build their trust in you.


The only way you will know if you are effective is by measuring your progress.  To measure your progress you need to:

  • Gather feedback from others
  • Study your delivery (Record yourself if possible)
  • Capture stories of life change

The more feedback you can gather the more you can determine whether you were clear and compelling.  Speaking is a craft that needs to be analyzed and practiced.  The better you become the greater your impact. 

Two resources I use to help me with my speaking are:

Communication For Change: 7 Keys to Irresistible Change by Andy Stanley

Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, And Deliver Effective Messages by Doug Fields

The better your delivery the more engaged your audience.  They will see that you have confidence and be attracted to your authority.  In the end your message will go a long way.

What speakers do you admire?  Which ones speak with authority?