It’s a speaker’s worst nightmare. She has labored in prayer and worn the letters off her keyboard in order to produce a powerful sermon. She is poised behind the podium—but halfway through delivering her first point, dozens of blank faces reveal that she’s the only one interested in what she has to say.
Today’s society presents a challenge to public speakers. We live in a blur of fast-pace, in-your-face media distractions—it’s no wonder the average adult attention span is only 30 seconds or less (which is why many commercials have been reduced to 15 seconds). Add to that the increased responsibilities, pressures, heartaches, and even medications that cloud people’s ability to focus on the spoken word.
But don’t let this frighten you off the stage. The good news is that people are craving honesty, personal connection, and take-home value. While quality is still important, now more than ever a communicator will be applauded for being transparent about her personality, struggles, and passions—for being herself. If God has called you to bring a message to women, you don’t have to change who you are to do it. You simply need to rely on the Holy Spirit and master a few important techniques.
The purpose of this unit is to explore simple ways to maximize your impact when communicating God’s truth to today’s women. You will discover how to:
1. Connect with your audience
2. Hold people’s attention
3. Emphasize important points
4. Deliver a strong conclusion
Kent, Carol. Speak Up with Confidence: A Step-by-Step Guide for Speakers and Leaders. Colorado Springs:NavPress, 2007. Also, www.carolkent.org—Official website of nationally known speaker and speaking coach Carol Kent
Littauer, Florence. Communication Plus: How to Speak So People will Listen. Ventura, CA: Regal, 2001.
Sandborn, Mark. The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2008.
Stevenson, Doug. www.storytelling-in-business.com—Great articles, free monthly newsletter, and blog.[BH1]
Downloadable video clips and illustrations for sermons:
About the Author
Lindsey Parsons has spoken to audiences in a variety of evangelism, discipleship, and addiction recovery ministries. She holds a degree in Christian counseling from Central Bible College and previously served as editorial assistant for national AG Women. She lives in Oregon with her husband Bryan and family.
1From “19 Surefire Ways to Connect with Your Audience” by Doug Stevenson. Copyright 2003. www.dougstevenson.com
2From The Encore Effect: How to Achieve Remarkable Performance in Anything You Do, by Mark Sanborn (WaterBrook Press, 2008).
3From “Communicating So People Will Listen,” Advanced Speak Up Seminar. Presented by Carol Kent on August 11, 2008, in Springfield Missouri. Copyright 2000 Carol Kent. www.carolkent.org
4Adapted from Program Plans for Successful Women’s Events, National Women’s Ministries. No longer in print.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®.
“Engaging Your Audience” is published by the National Women’s Department at www.women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission to reproduce is limited to personal use or within a teaching setting. All other forms of use are prohibited.