8 Practices To Increase The Quality Of Your Speaking

I have no problems talking.  I could go on and on.  That’s part of being an ENFP (Extrovert, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perception).  I never needed practice, or least I thought.  Early on I was losing people left and right.

Speaking is an important part of youth ministry.  You need to be able to speak in front of parents, volunteers and of course teenagers.  If you communicate clearly you can mobilize the next generation.  

To improve upon the quality of your speaking you need to have a few best practices.  Does not matter if you are naturally gifted.  What makes a great speaker is someone who puts time, and attention behind what they do.  

8 practices that are essential to increasing the quality of your messages are:

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:

Are You Being Clear?

I used to grow frustrated every time we held an event or meeting and no one would show up.  I thought the announcement was clear.  We had date, time, and location.  What else could someone need?  I began to grow frustrated and made assumptions like:

  • Parents do not care.
  • Teens are selfish with their time.
  • Volunteers are not as sold out.

Those assumptions were unfair.  The reality was that my message was not clear. 

As a leader you need to be sure that what you communicate is being received and absorbed.  While you might feel as if you are doing that, you never can be too sure.  That is why you need to be clear on what you are communicating.  Never assume you are being clear because you could be making a mess of the situation.  That’s because you are:

Make Your Messages More Than Words

The first message I ever gave felt like a home run; however, it’s a little embarrassing when I reread it.  I had no point, I went on and on and on and on.  It was a wonder that I was allowed to speak the next week.  My problem was lack of experience and taking a lot of things for granted.  I assumed that speaking to teenagers was easy.  I thought I knew my subject.  I did not see the message as one of the most important aspects of my job.

Whether you call it a talk, a message or a speech, speaking to teenagers is very important.  It’s a way of casting vision and motivating teenagers to embrace their faith journey.  Your message tells a story and helps shape their perspective on how to approach life.  That’s why it should be:

One Church One Message

When I started out in ministry I outsourced a lot of my messages.  What that meant is that I would purchase message series and adapt them for my program.  As the years moved on I became more comfortable with message development.  Our message series were powerful, the students engaged in the topics and conversations thrived in small groups.  There was nothing apparently wrong with how we were developing messages; however, it wasn’t until we adopted the value of one church one message that our student ministries really started to go deeper.

As a youth minister you are always looking ways to partner up with parents and go deeper with students.  While communicating what is happening in your student ministry is important one of the best ways to bring the family together is through a one church one message approach.  This approach basically allows: