Watch Yourself

Courtesy of .reid./Creative Commons License

In college I had a small stint as a disc jockey for the campus radio station.  It was a cool idea, something I was really excited about and enjoyed until I heard my voice.  It wasn’t necessarily what I was saying but how I was saying it.  I felt like it was a load of mumbling and yammering which, lead me to wonder, “Who in their right mind would listen to me?”
As a youth minister there are many people listening to you, whether it’s giving a message, leading a workshop or running a meeting.  It doesn’t matter how long you spend on editing your message and crafting your bottom line, if you can’t deliver it, than all you are doing is wasting air.
Your effectiveness as a speaker and presenter is not only determined by the words you speak; but, how you speak them and if you want to know how you are doing then just:

WATCH YOURSELF

Easier said then done because it’s intimidating to look at your self.  But, if you to improve as a speaker you need to know how your words are coming off to the crowd.  If you want to know whether or not people are even listening you need to take the time to examine what needs work.  Especially in these areas:
  • Your Delivery – Are you speaking too fast? Do you make the right pauses?  Do you know when to get loud and soft?  Examining your delivery will help you know if you are hitting your points and making words come to life.
  • Your Body Language– I use my hands too much, something I wasn’t aware of until I watched myself.  It’s funny to see the habits you have that you aren’t aware of and they can be a distraction for others if not careful.  One person told me the waving of my hands made me look like I was drowning…not cool.
  • Your Dress – As youth ministers how we dress might not matter as much for our teens as it does for their parents.  I’m not advocating suits and ties, but there are certain audiences you need to dress for, because their perception of a youth minister may be different from yours.  Dress to impress because sometimes people will judge a book by its cover.

You can spend hours editing and rehearsing your message; however, if you want to truly bring it to that next level, watch yourself.  It’s as simple as setting up a camera; however, if you don’t have access to one, find someone who does (someone has to have one) or find someone you trust to take notes and hold you accountable.  It’s not about putting on a show, but delivering a great message with excellence.  After all you don’t want your lousy presentation to get in the way of the Good News.
How do you work on your presentation?  Do you have any tips to offer?