Acting or Speaking in Public: Two Habits to Avoid

Are you being asked to speak in front of people? Perhaps it’s to share your testimony or a message in church; act in the Christmas or Easter play or just recite scripture? Are you nervous? When people are nervous they tend to speak very quickly. NOT a good idea! You may speak quickly just to get it over with – or, perhaps, you think people won’t be interested in what you have to say. You should never underestimate the power and influence your words can have and what God will do through them.

Then there are others who are so familiarwithwhattheyaresayingthattheyrushthroughitlikearunawaytrain! enunciating-stewardessThis is also NOT a good idea. Think of an airline attendant explaining how to properly do up your seat belt; where the emergency doors are and how to make sure your oxygen mask is on before you put it on your screaming child. I often have a difficult time understanding that whole schpeel because they say it so fast. However, this is important information, but how many of us pay attention to it?

What if the next time you have to announce something in your church, read a scripture, share a testimony or perform a drama, you take a moment to breathe? Take a nice deep breath and let it out slooooowly. Then pray, asking the Holy Spirit to help you be a clear communicator, so that whatever you have to share would be heard and received by your audience (whoever that may be). Then slow down and enunciate your words so that people can understand and care about what you are saying.

Another habit people develop is what I call a ‘lazy mouth’. Are you a mumbler? Many of us are. We just get a little lazy about using our mouth to speak. Sounds silly, I know, but try the following exercise and see if you might have developed this habit.

Exercise:

Say this tongue twister 3 x’s quickly, “Unique New York.” How did you do? I bet not so well. That’s because you barely opened your mouth when you tried it and you spoke too fast.

Now do it again. This time place a pencil horizontally between your teeth. Speak around the pencil, slowly and clearly 3 x’s.

Now take the pencil out of your mouth and say “Unique New York” 3 x’s again, taking your time. See how easy it was because you slowed down and used your mouth.

So the next time you are to act, recite or speak to a group, remember to slooooww down, take a deep breath, use that mouth of yours and believe that God wants to use what you have to say.