It’s interesting how 8 little words, when strung in this sequence, have the power to be an exhilarating opportunity or bring paralyzing anxiety. I was honored to be invited to speak in front of my church community and go on the roller coaster ride that is the creative process. You know, the roller coaster ride of creativity that takes you on high inspired-genius highs and low what-the-hell-am-I-doing lows, all with a deadline and an audience of people waiting to hear what you came up with. I said “yes” to this journey of speaking publicly, believing that the risks of putting myself out there outweigh the consequences of not trying.
I learned so much from this experience, from preparing to delivery. So today I would like to share some of the “creative nuggets” I gained. My hope is that you are inspired to do something that would allow you to say “yes” to your creative process.
Do your research. In the preparation process, I started with this step. We were learning about the Life of David in the Bible, so I gathered research about David’s life, details about the story of David and Goliath, historical and cultural context, and connections to the New Testament. I also reached out to speaking mentors for resources on communication books and read Communicating For a Change by Andy Stanley. It was a helpful guide to speaking and provided a framework for effective communication. I learned fascinating information in my research that gave me a clearer understanding of what I wanted to say.
Choose ONE point/takeaway. Build everything around it. It’s easy to get caught up in trying to pack a ton of information in a short amount of time. One communication “game changer” I learned is when speaking, choose ONE point and all of the relevant stories, research, and support is used to back it up. It’s better for the audience to walk away with one take-away, inspired to take action to make a change, then for them to get confused with the 4 Cs of Communication, or a long list of How To Be a Better Person. Keep it simple.
Speak from the heart. Make it personal. Connecting with the audience is absolutely essential to making an impact. For me as a listener, I respect people who are authentic and use their platform to help others. For me as a speaker, I enjoy using personal stories to gain trust and connection, and as an opportunity for someone to hear my story and say, “Me too, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one dealing with this.” Using relevant and personal stories bridge the gap between the speaker and audience and are great conversation starters with people afterwards.
Practice, practice, practice. This was advice I received from a speaking mentor, and I’m so glad I took it! After I wrote my message, I practiced saying the words out loud. This allowed me to practice pacing, time how long my message would be, and making final editing decisions. After my message, I received feedback from people saying that I looked comfortable and confident, so I owe it to awkwardly practicing my message in front of my empty dining room table.
Creativity ultimately comes from the Creator. In my worldview, I believe that God created everything, from the huge universe to the tiniest details in us as individuals. Creativity and inspiration ultimately comes from Him, as the Creator. It’s really cool for me to understand this concept because it takes any pressure off of me to “perform” and “say the right things.” I am only a vessel to point people to the source. I seek truth and spread love and share what He is put on my heart. Knowing that He is with me takes away any feelings of intimidation or fear. It’s still at times scary, but fun and rewarding, too!
These are my reflections on my experience speaking publicly. What are your thoughts? Feel free to comment in the box below, or head over to our Facebook page and post there.
I would love to have more opportunities to speak about creativity, life change, and relevant coaching topics if you have an appropriate audience that would benefit from it. Email me to collaborate on upcoming speaking events & engagements, would love to hear from you!