Recently, our LifeWay president Dr. Thom Rainer, wrote this blog post, “Five Mistakes Leaders Make When They Speak”. As I read it, I thought, “I’ve made almost all of these, and sometimes still do.” Read his post, and then let’s address his 5 mistakes here:
- Poor grammar – I, too, have heard the mistake Dr. Rainer addresses here. The one that I hear more than that is the misuse of “me” and “I,” as in “My leaders and me prayed about the direction of our ministry.” I was taught that you take out “my leaders” and see what word you would use. That would make it “Me prayed about the direction of our ministry.” Of course, it should say “I prayed…” so that makes the correct sentence, “My leaders and I prayed about the direction of our ministry.” If you are using me or I, try using them alone first, then add the others you are including in the sentence.
- Too much information – I’m guilty, big time, on this one. If I’ve learned something I want so much to impart that to others that I try to include everything. It takes work to hone down your message to a few simple but powerful points. This is what we must do if we want our listeners to walk away with something solid.
- Too many visuals – Although I do use powerpoint to teach, I am not too heavy on visuals, other than a video clip here and there. My creative side regarding visual illustrations is not very strong, but I have been in meetings where the visuals were overwhelming. Again, too many visuals can be so overwhelming that you don’t remember the message.
- “Insider” language – LifeWay, even though we work with multiple denominations across the country and beyond, has as our largest audience one particular denomination and many of us have been a part of that denomination for years. We often easily use language that only those on the “inside” understand, whether it be words, acrostics or abbreviations. Be very careful to include everyone in your audience as you address your topic.
- Insufficient pathos – If we do not touch the heart of those we are speaking to, it’s hard to for them to relate to what we are saying. This is especially true for women. We can impart information and even do it with credibility, but they need to know that you personally have dealt with your topic and have your own experiences to support what you’re saying. Now you are on their level grappling with the issue. They identify with you and want to listen even more.
So, evaluate yourself as a speaker and teacher. How do you rate on these 5 common mistakes? It might be fun to have your leadership team evaluate themselves or each other if they have a good working relationship with each other. It might even be both fun and team building.
What other mistakes are you aware of when it comes to speaking?
Speak Up With Confidence – Carol Kent