I have just loved getting to know so many of you through my BlogTalkRadio show and networking with you in the Facebook group, as well as talking to you all in teleseminars! There’s a wealth of information out there about speaking, and I’ve asked you to send me guest posts, which I’ll run when I think the time is right.
Today, then, Beth Jones joins us. She’s a speaker and a writer who devotes her ministry to making sure that it’s focused first and foremost on God. Today she’s written us a post on how to gain confidence–and how to project confidence–when you speak! Thanks, Beth!
As Christian speakers we desire to please God first, to connect with and to bless women in the audience, to minister to their real needs, to impart the message burning in our hearts – and to have lots of FUN! As we come up on stage and fight those pre-speaking jitters, one thing we really want to do is to have and to exude confidence. Confidence in the Lord. But how do we do that, especially if it’s a big crowd, we’re in a new region out of our comfort zone, and/or we’re not sure how the message we’ve prepared is going to go over? What are some practical ways we can have and portray confidence in our speaking?
- Get your “rhema” word straight from the Source – by sitting at Jesus’ feet first before you speak! A rhema is from the
Greek word for utterance, and is a verse of Scripture that the Holy Spirit brings to our attention applying to a current situation or need for direction. It is a NOW, right-on word, a word in “due season” that you really need! (Proverbs 15: 23, AKJV)
As Christians we’ve all heard stories from the Bible many times, and not to be irreverent or totally self-absorbed, but sometimes we may think, “So what? How does that apply to me today? What’s that got to do with me?” Your audience will think this, too. “Moses led the people out of Egypt…” Yawn. Peter walked on the water in faith. Yeah, yeah. Make sure your prepared speech is a relevant message for your audience, that it will minister to their hearts.
The way you can be certain of that is by spending time with God first and by hearing His specific word for that audience. Get quiet and still before God, and listen. Even if you’ve given this same speech over and over, the Holy Spirit will tweak it to meet those women’s particular needs. Then you can speak with confidence to these women because you are sharing the very word of the Lord with them.
2. Realize it’s not about you. Don’t be ridiculous, right? As Christian speakers, we know that, it’s all about God and spreading His kingdom! He will share His glory with no one. (Isaiah 42:8) If we know that, then why do we get nervous? Because we’re afraid of failing. We’re afraid of totally bombing this one, and people not liking us. We’re afraid of rejection.
As we spend time in prayer with God, studying His word and hearing His small, still voice, and we recognize in humility that God is the one who gave us this assignment and mission to accomplish, then we can move out of the way and allow His Holy Spirit to flow through us. We didn’t do anything to deserve or earn this honor and opportunity; it came from God’s hands of grace.
With that humble knowledge, we can focus on what is important: pointing everyone to Jesus. It’s not about you or me; it’s about Him and the good news of Jesus. Give your anxieties to God. Surrender this engagement to Him.
As we keep our eyes on Jesus and not on ourselves and our own “perfect” performance, we will speak with confidence in the Lord. Our words will have weight and authority, because they are God-inspired and God-directed.
3. Pray for God’s love for these women. What changes lives is God’s truth and love. We don’t want to just give some little generic message that makes the audience croon, “Oh, that was nice.” I don’t want to be nice! Well, okay, I do want to be a nice person, but what I desire as a speaker is to IMPACT and TRANSFORM lives with the revelation of God’s two-edged sword word and the power of His Spirit! And it is God’s love that changes lives.
Ask God to give you His agape love for these women. They will sense it coming from your innermost being as you share –living waters like Jesus gave the woman at the well. (John 4: 5-40, NKJV) We won’t have that love for the audience unless we first receive it from God.
Pray and seek that love from God to give to them, and then you will confidently speak. When you really love others, you don’t have to perform or worry about messing up. That love inside of you is more concerned with esteeming others than self. (Philippians 2: 3-5, NKJV)
4. Let’s be real, authentic, ourselves. One of the deadliest things we can do to ourselves as speakers is to compare ourselves to others or try to be someone we’re not. When you try to pretend you’re someone that God didn’t create you to be – i.e., trying to be being clown funny as you speak when you were born a melancholy, serious personality or acting demure and discreet when you’re really a loud, outgoing Sanguine – it doesn’t “gel” with the audience.
People can spot “fake” a mile off. Just be you. You don’t have to try to be like the other great Christian speakers. God didn’t make you like them. Stop comparing yourself to them, and stop envying them and their successes. When you’re authentic, truthful, sincere, this will minister far beyond what you can even imagine. “Real” and “transparent” help people to relate to you, to connect their heart to yours.
When you’re just being yourself, you will be confident as you speak. Pretending or trying to perform will just make you tense, and the audience will pick up on that. Nobody can be you better than you! We all have areas of our lives where we need shaping, refining, and improving, even as speakers, but God loves and accepts you just the way you are – and wants to use you just the way you are. You are God’s masterpiece, created wonderfully and fearfully in His image! (Psalm 139: 14) It’s you He asked to give His message to them. Just tell Him thank you, be yourself, open your mouth, and watch God work mightily!
There are other ways we can use to have more confidence as we speak, such as incorporating humor into our message, knowing our topic thoroughly, having our message well rehearsed or even memorized, using few notes, making good eye contact with the audience, and dressing attractively. I know that whenever I buy a new outfit to speak, it sure helps me to feel more confident! However, the most important confidence-boosters are internal.
As you sit at Jesus’ feet for His rhema word for that audience, realize it’s not about you, pray for God’s love for these women, and just be yourself, you will speak with bold confidence in the Lord, and your message will deeply minister and make a life-changing difference in these women’s lives. They will take away the precious and priceless gem that God and you have given them in your important message, and you and they will be greatly blessed!