The Role of the Christian in Public Speaking (Part 1)


This blog was adapted by a teaching session that Deb Knupp did for Resource Global’s New Teacher Cohort in Chicago.

Here’s some of what Deb shared:

I often say that presenting as a stand alone activity is like a muscle. You have the ability to stand, to command an audience, and to draw attention. As Christians, we have an opportunity to use every moment we have an audience, to be representations of Christ’s love, and to do it in a way where our presentations feel like a hug. I am going to give you some insights today on how you can take really classic boring status reports in your day lives, and as you think about the presentations you would undoubtedly do on mission, how do you create experiences where you hold space for people where they walk away and feel poured into, even if you are just giving facts and figures. So I will talk about how to be more effective when you do this and how to steward those moments. You get to be a light and a representation of your faith.

What I have learned in my work of bridging workplace ministry with vocational ministry is that sometimes both avenues can be useful and relevant to teaching the other. So in shepherding some of the workplace insights that I do in executive education, many folks who are doing more vocational ministry have said that we don’t necessarily get these same kinds of access or opportunities.

When we do stand up presentations, a lot of us think, if we get the content right, then we will have the ability to get everything else right. So, prepare to have your mind blown, because the content, in the grand scheme of things, is a very small percentage of how you move people. And while yes, there is a sense of you need to transact a communication that allows people to know how to do something, but the reality is, and it has often been said, people will forget what you told them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. That is what we need to recognize. The content is the easy part, and yet, as presenters, that is the thing we often stress about. The beginnings and the ends, particularly as we do the next two programs, we are going to really dive into mechanics, and today in laying the foundation, I want to give  you a relationship with content that says yes, it’s essential, and if you can recognize the ministry of your work, and how it serves, all of a sudden the content starts to come together.

The number one fear that human beings have, more than death, is public speaking. There are more and more studies that suggest people would rather get a root canal than stand up in front of an audience. So the fact is, if you already enjoy that, that gives you some unique strengths, in marketplace, and in ministries.

Next week I want to share some tips that Deb gave on public speaking.