Big, fat and deep red – it was my first tomato of the season. I fried up a bunch of bacon and washed the lettuce. I pulled out the bread, slathered on the mayonnaise and added my bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Adding just the right amount of salt and pepper, my BLT was truly a masterpiece. I took a big bite and UGH! The bread was stale and no matter how amazing the bacon (because when is bacon ever NOT amazing), how juicy the tomato and how crisp the lettuce, the stale bread just ruined it all. If I’d just taken the time to look at the bread, I would have known it was stale but I let the routine ruin my sandwich. I have made hundreds of BLTs but I was just too lax and forgot to check each element of the sandwich.
Giving a talk can be like preparing the best BLT or the worst BLT. You can pull out all the ingredients and if you’re not careful and pay attention, you can deliver a stale message that all the best stories, analogies and statistics cannot save.
I’ve seen a stale talk destroy a great message. Let me rephrase that – I’ve given a stale talk and destroyed a great message.
Don’t let this happen to you. The Lord has given you a message to share and whether you share it one time or 100 times it needs to be fresh and filled with passion.
Four Steps to Keeping Your Message Fresh
Stories, like shoes, go out of style. The story about your MySpace account is going to fall flat and feel older than a rotary dial phone. Don’t depend on what worked in the past – life happens and it happens to all of us. Bring your talk up to date with new examples and the latest stories in your life.
How do you feel about this talk? Does it thrill you? If it doesn’t thrill you, it won’t thrill the audience. You have to love what you are sharing. It has to be your passion or it will fall flat. You don’t have to recreate the whole talk, but renew it. Pull out the portion that excites you and expand on it.
I’ve shared about Jesus calling Peter more times than I can count. Every talk comes from Luke 5:1-11 but I’ve changed the focus from the friendship of Peter, James and John to the leaving the nets and boats to follow Jesus. Different seasons of my life have made me passionate about different aspects of the story – find what thrills you and refocus your message to your passion.
Don’t assume you’ve got this – you don’t. None of us do. We all need to review what we will share. Review your notes, practice your open and your closing, make your notes or type out your talk – whatever works for you, but never assume you can wing it. You can’t and even if you can, you shouldn’t. Your audience deserves your best and your best includes practice and review.
Before you dismiss this step as obvious, let me ask if you truly pray over each talk? Do you ask God to use your limited words to do his limitless work? Have you prayed over every woman and man who will hear you? Do you pray over every word that will cross your lips?
I tried to remember to do this, but I often fell short and this particularly happened when I felt good about what I was presenting. “I’ve got this, God” was often my attitude – and it’s not an attitude that is glorifying to God. Humble yourself before the Lord – ask Him to work mightily. Trust His calling on your life.
Giving the same talk over and over can be challenging but if you remember to Refresh, Refocus, Review and Pray, you will deliver an exciting and passionate message and a message that will glorify God and honor His calling on your life.
Mary Snyder is a Director of Speaker Touring for Compassion International. Mary spent years speaking on platforms both large and small before coming to Compassion where she works with a variety of speakers as they bring their unique message to audiences across the country.