Some interesting reading in Ben Franklin’s autobiography, on so many levels.Found this little tidbit outlining Franklin’s relationship with 18th century Methodist evangelist George Whitefield. He was amazed by his powerful voice, and measured the distance it could be heard during an open-air speech in Philadelphia and estimated that Whitefield could present to 30,000 people “in the round”. Now THAT’s projection! Another tidbit claimed that Franklin attended a rally dead set against contributing durign the expected collection at the close. In Franklin’s words: “I had in my pocket a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold. As he proceeded, I began to soften and concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of his oratory made me ashamed of that and determined me to give the silver; and he finished so admirably that I emptied my pocket wholly into the collector’s dish, gold and all.” It’s worth noting that Franklin didn’t believe at all in Whitefield’s methods or in his theology, and was quite a logical man, so Whitefield’s delivery can only be assumed to be astounding.Franklin himself gives the reason for it: “By hearing him often I came to distinguish easily between sermons newly composed and those which he had often preached in the course of this travels. His delivery of the latter was so improved by frequent repetitions that every accent, every emphasis, every modulation of voice was so perfectly well turned and well placed that, without being interested in the subject, one could not help being pleased with the discourse, a pleasure of much the same kind with that received from an excellent piece of music.”THAT is good delivery. If people who aren’t interested in what you have to say listen simply because of how you say it, we must assume that how you deliver a message is quite important. And if your message is worth giving, you can improve it, and should, and must. You want people to buy in to your message? Then repetition and constant refinement are key components to effective delivery and winning people over.
Practice your message delivery and make it continually better.
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I believe that is my one, perhaps only, complaint about theToastmasters program. The emphasis is only on giving speeches thatthat earn manual credit. I think there should be more room forthe initial delivery of a speech, responding to the evaluation,and getting at least one more chance to do it better. Thegreat speakers of any generation, don’t give a lot of differentmessages, just a few messages very well.
Being a pastor myself, this distinction also reveals the pitfalls of the pulpit ministry when compared to the glamor of the visiting evangelist. How often has a preacher visited your church and the congregants “ooh and ahh” over his oratory skills and electric delivery? It is often asked (or implied) “Why doesn’t our preacher preach like that?”The answer is “Your preacher could preach like that if you didn’t mind hearing the same five sermons every five weeks for the next several years.”Those of us who attend church should be very thankful if we are hearing good (not always great) sermons week in and week out. It is an extremely difficult process.