Most anyone who has had to take a speech class has experienced the horror of standing before their peers to deliver a speech. My first speech class was in college. Bill Lambert was the teacher. Though he was graceful, the class was merciless. Once we had to draw a subject out of a hat and give a speech on it. I think my subject was ping-pong. A friend had “Why birds chirp”. Following the speeches we were subjected to the kind of scrutiny that should be saved for lab rats.
*You said “uh” 25 times (low count, I’m sure)
*You kept tugging on your ear
*Your hands were in your pocket
*You waved your hands too much
*You read too much
On and on it went until the effort was totally decimated. Still, it was a good experience for someone who was going to make a living standing in front of people and talking. If we could eliminate some of these bad habits it would help us proclaim the message more effectively.
These memories came back today as the Ouachita Christian School speech class made a visit to our church. This included me replicating the first 10 minutes of my Sunday sermon, watching the students give introductions to their speeches in the auditorium (a much bigger setting than they are used to), and offering a few insights about public speaking that guide my efforts in that area. The teacher, Kelly Aaen, is a beloved fixture at OCS and does an outstanding job with the class. I know many of these students, having subbed in Bible class there from time to time. It was a delight.
But it did remind me of the horrors of speech class… and how those ‘horrors’ helped me overcome my own stage fright and focus on the message.
Thanks for reading,