Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Writing Leads to Speaking in Public

Are You Comfortable when Addressing a Crowd

Many people start off as writers and find that their work opens other doors for them. One of these doors may be invitations to speak to the public. Of course this can be intimidating - especially if you are a stereotypical writer who loves their own company and can spend hours alone, in front of the computer. Even if you are more outgoing, the thought of speaking in public can still be daunting. Before declining such invitations, I’d encourage you to consider they may be part of God’s greater plan for your life.

Words have Power
Words are creative. God spoke the universe into existence and we can influence others by the words we speak and write. Positive words can motivate, heal and comfort whereas negative words can cause anger, destruction and hopelessness. As writers we have a precious gift in that our words have the potential to change lives – whether spoken or written.

Some People are not Readers
That’s just how it is. God has given us all different abilities and some people absorb information better by hearing it spoken. For that reason, a writer who speaks will often reach people who would never read their books or articles. Invitations to address groups are opportunities to share our message and bring about positive change in people’s lives.

Seize Opportunities to Speak in Public
See them as God-given platforms whether you are speaking to a packed auditorium or a small group in someone’s home. You’ve been invited to speak because someone believes you have something to share that can touch and change people’s lives.

One Engagement Leads to Another
Most of the speaking I do is to Christians and in a church context. Early last year, however, I was invited to speak to a group of 100 retired people. The president of the club noticed I often wrote articles about Zimbabwe for our local paper and invited me to share on my experiences while living in Africa. As a result of that afternoon, I received another four invitations to speak to other clubs. These are secular groups but I wove my testimony into my story and people’s lives were touched.

Speaking is Closely Related to Writing
In fact some people pursue a career as speech writers. Putting together a talk is very similar to constructing an article. It needs an introduction, a middle and a conclusion. Throw in a few anecdotes, add some expression and there you go. Of course the practical application is not as easy as it sounds but like any skill, practice helps and the more you do it the easier it will become. Try and use your notes as a guide as there is nothing worse than a talk that is simply read. People want the speaker to use the whole stage and be expressive and lively as well as interesting and cohesive.

If God gives you the opportunity to speak, He will make sure you have the ability to do so. Embrace any chance you get and dedicate your words to Him. You’ll be amazed at what unfolds before you.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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