Leadership training - Lesson 3

By Stafford North

When You Appear Before an Audience


To inform the class of certain fundamental principles of delivery in public speaking so they can be more effective in public presentations.


  1. Some men suggest that they would not mind appearing before the congregation if they did not have to use their voices or bodies.
  2. But it is the voice and body which make the spoken word unique.
    1. Speaking a word can add force and interest which are not present when that word is written only.
    2. In public speaking then, one must learn to use these tools effectively. Subject Sentence: Make your voice and body work for you.


  1. Speak Up
    1. Speak loudly enough.
      1. A common criticism of the public worship is that a prayer, an announcement, or a reading was so soft that it could not be heard.
      2. Even a microphone cannot replace the need for a speaker to open his mouth, articulate carefully, and supply a reasonable amount of volume.
      3. Almost any person can speak loudly enough to be heard, but until one is accustomed to speaking, he may need a listener to report on when the volume is sufficient
    2. Use the proper speed.
      1. Speak fast enough to show your own interest and enthusiasm, but not too fast to be clearly understood
      2. Pause before and after important ideas to give a word or statement enough time to sink in.
      3. Change the rate by speeding up to build a climax at various important or critical points in the speech or reading.
      4. Since we think in word groups, run several words together; breathe or pause only at logical places
    3. Learn to emphasize important words and points.
      1. Make the KEY WORDS in a sentence STAND OUT by EMPHASIZING them while de-emphasizing less important words. (See drills.)
      2. Do with your voice what capital letters, italics, bold face, and paragraph spaces do on the printed page
      3. Let your main ideas in the speech or reading become the peaks around which all the rest of the speech revolves.
  2. Look at the Audience.
    1. When someone avoids us with his eyes, we question his sincerity.
    2. Nothing keeps the audience watching you any better than for you to watch them-and look straight at each person, not just above their heads or in their general area.
    3. As in the comic strips, there should be dotted lines from your eyes to the eyes of your audience.
    4. Avoid using notes to such an extent that they keep you from looking at the audience; and even when you read, look at the audience before you start, when you finish, and occasionally during the reading if it is more than two or three verses.
  3. Be Active.
    1. Movement attracts attention.
    2. So a speaker who moves his hands, changes his facial expression, and, in a longer speech, walks around a little will keep attention better than one who does not.
    3. Most of us will be a little excited about appearing before a group, but this excitement can be put to good use.
      1. Being put “on the spot” excites everyone from an opera star on opening night to a golfer about to tee off in front of his friends.
      2. This excitement causes our bodies to prepare for activity: and if we try to suppress it, the body will force us to move by making us tremble and shake.
      3. Movement of the hands, arms, legs, and face, then, will both help maintain the attention of the audience and help us to work off our excitement.
      4. When put into the proper channels, then, the excitement which accompanies a public appearance can help us by leading us into more effective action.
  4. Appear Natural We are not necessarily to be natural , but we are to appear so.
    1. It may be natural for us to speak very softly and stand in an unattractive position, but neither of these is advisable.
    2. At the same time, we must not appear affected and unnatural, for to do so immediately casts a doubt upon our sincerity and distracts the audience.
    3. Standing up straight with the weight properly distributed on the feet may not seem natural , but it looks more natural to the audience than for you to squirm from standing on one leg to standing on the other.
    4. Standing with your hands hanging to your sides may not feel natural, but it will look far more natural than for you to pull at your coat, jam your hands into and out of your pockets, or put your hands on your hips
  5. Avoid Distractions
    1. Even seemingly insignificant matters may be important if they keep the audience from listening to you.
    2. There is no law in the Bible which says that a song leader must wear a tie on Sunday morning, but he should wear what is appropriate so that his clothing does not call attention itself-by either overdressing or underdressing.
    3. A word can sometimes be mispronounced and still be recognized, but it has called too much attention to itself and pulled the minds of the audience to the sound rather than the meaning.
    4. It may not be immoral to rock back and forth while you speak, but to do so is likely to call attention away from what you are saying.


  1. Since you have a message to deliver, a purpose to achieve with your appearance, you should use all the means at your disposal to achieve your aim.
  2. Avoid any distracting mannerisms or actions which will call attention to themselves and away from what you are saying or reading.
  3. We will now practice the exercises given below. Note what is on the evaluation sheet before you give it to your instructor.
  4. For the next class meeting, you will be asked to read about five verses which you have prepared carefully through practice: (1) briefly introduce the passage in your own words by telling where it is found and something about the context, (2) study the passage carefully to discover exactly what it means and to pick out the important words which you will want to emphasize, (3) practice reading it out loud a number of times, perhaps to members of your family. Suggestion Sheet 4 is for use with this reading at the next class period.


Using the main auditorium if possible, walk to the rostrum and say one of the following items. Say it with the proper mood and without reading it. Be certain that you say it loudly enough, at the right rate of speed, and with emphasis on the important words.

  1. Every member of the church must be a worker.
  2. Prayer can change your life. Prayer can change your life, Prayer can change your life, Prayer can change your life. Prayer can change your life.
  3. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  4. I am going to be a better Christian. Will you?
  5. Today is the day of salvation.
  6. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.
  7. So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Fill in your name and give this sheet to the teacher before you speak.

Name _______________ Did the student walk confidently before the audience? Yes No Did the student pause and look at the audience before starting? Yes No Did the student speak loudly enough to be heard?

Yes No Did the student speak? Too fast? About right? Too slow?

Did the student emphasize important words? Yes No Did the student look at the audience? All the time Part of the time None of the time Did the student appear natural? Yes No Did the student avoid distracting mannerisms? Yes No



Please check the items, fill in your name, and give to the teacher before you read.

Name _________


Did the student walk confidently before the audience? Yes No

Did the student pause and look at the audience before starting? Yes No

Did the student hold the Bible so he could see both the book and the audience? Yes No

Was the volume: too loud about right too soft?

Was the speed: too fast about right too slow?

Did the student mispronounce any words?

Did the student exhibit any nervous mannerisms?

Did the student convey the meaning of the passage by using his voice well? Yes No


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