August 3; Tailor Each Speech To Fit Each Audience
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Eight: Communication; 3 August

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said,

“Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship,

I even found an altar with this inscription:

to an unknown god.

So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—

and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands…”

Acts 17:22-24

Tailor Each Speech To Fit Each Audience

Speechifying (5X)

Your Business Professor is driving home after giving a speech. I am reviewing the talk that I just gave. The two were not the same lecture.

This might explain why giving a speech is dreaded by so many people. Too many unknowns. It is often said that people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying. (Glenn Croston 2012 ) This might be because death is inevitable and happens once. Public speaking is a high-wire performance without a net where a misstep is a disaster. That’s why an audience will show up for a live performance on Broadway, on- or off-, because something might go wrong. Everyone loves to watch (the possibility of) a train wreck.

Public speaking has too much uncertainty and each speech is never just one speech: it is five.

Here are the five speeches every presenter gives:

1) The speech s/he wrote.

Business consultant Jim Collins reminds us that Winston Churchill always had detailed notes with him when he gave a speech – he always feared he would be at a loss for words. (Collins 2009)

2) The speech s/he practiced.

Timing; audience; setting; something will always be different. Countless hours of practice can help anticipate. Maybe. You might be rehearsing in Jerusalem but the venue is in Athens.

3) The speech s/he gave.

“The only thing worse when I depart from my prepared speech,” goes the old speech-maker’s joke, “is when I return to it…” Speeches must always be different because there will be a ‘hook’ or ‘tie-in’ that will be unique to your audience. Paul did not prepare for using the parallelism of the ‘altar to the unknown god’ until he got on site. He added it to the script, which plays havoc with journalists and the teleprompter.

4) The speech the audience heard.

When Your Business Professor gives a seminar to a small group of 30 or less, I ask each attendee for the one take-away they learned at the end of the discussion. As the group does a lap around the room everyone usually hears something different than my intended message. The listener might have been contemplating a unique application of the talk’s content that might not be what the speaker anticipated. Or they were daydreaming. Hard to tell the difference.

5) The speech s/he wished she gave.

This is the speaker’s remorse where a point should have been made, a botched thought process that could have been more eloquent or more emphasis on another perspective. This second-guessing is where the speaker finally thinks of that witty, brilliant response to a difficult question from the audience. This never occurs at the podium (for Your Business Professor), but on the car ride/plane ride back home…

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands…”  Acts 17:22-24

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