While recently coaching an up-and-coming youth communicator, I was reminded of three simple tips that professional youth speakers use when crafting and rehearsing their messages:
1. The 7-7-7 rule… Students today have been accustomed to media that is divided into seven-minute chunks that are separated by two to three minutes of commercials each. As youth speakers, it is wise to build our messages in a similar fashion; seven minutes of contents separated by little “commercial breaks” in which we build in an audience interaction, a humorous story, or something else that breaks up the monotony of listening to someone addressing the group for 30 minutes.
2. Story is key. We must not only incorporate the telling a story in our talk, but we must strive to ensure that our overall message works as a story (beginning, middle, end). More importantly, we must continually ask ourselves, “What is the story that God is desiring to tell through this message?” Jesus taught through stories and parables, so should we!
3. Rehearse it until you own it. Rehearsing and practicing our messages sometimes feels silly. We can easily be tempted into thinking that we will just depend on our natural ability to be spontaneous or be “led by the Spirit” in the moment. However, the danger with this kind of thinking is that we don’t end up “owning” our content and we come across as less-than-credible, not believable, or just look unprepared and lazy. It is more than worth every minute of preparation and practice when our delivery is as impactful as possible. Rehearse everything if you can… Blocking, gestures, telling your stories, reading scripture, facial expressions, etc. You, and especially the students listening to you, will not regret it.
The speaker I was coaching happens to be one of the college-aged interns in our student ministry. This was going to be the first time she had presented to our group as a whole. She knew she had something worthwhile to say and that the students needed to hear. Prior to speaking she was as nervous as could be, but she put these few tips into practice and did an amazing job!
Matt Maiberger is the High School Pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Parker, CO, Matt gets to live out his passion by helping students know Jesus Christ and grow into the leaders that God has called them to be. www.youthspeakerscoach.com