Karl Romeus has had the opportunity to communicate to various sizes and ages of crowds. Over the years, Karl has realized that we need to practice communicating as a craft. Similar to an instrument, if we’re only practicing when we are “performing,” we will be less effective. We need to practice and round out our rough edges.
In order to become a better speaker, Karl shared five keys to effectively communicate to students.
1. Be secure in your voice.
- Be secure in your voice. If you’re not, you will come across as inauthentic. Students can instantly tell who is fake. Don’t just copy other speakers. Make sure your students are hearing you deliver the message God wants to give through you.
- Listen to different styles to develop your voice, but don’t just copy others. Pull out attributes from them but don’t mimic everything.
- Don’t make yourself or the students the hero. It’s always Jesus.
- Tell on yourself. Bring your full self to your audience. Tell about your defeats and then tell how Jesus rescued you.
- Comedy is an inductive device that should be used but not overused. Laughter can allow people to listen to the greater point you’re saying when it is used properly.
- “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde
- Get real feedback. Don’t ask your spouse. Find someone who can tell you the truth.
- Be one with the text and leave each message right there when it’s over. Otherwise, you will keep coming back to it over and over.
- Always start with the text, and wrestle with it:
- Study full.
- Write yourself clear.
- Pray yourself hot.
- Preach yourself empty.
- You should say your sermon at least 10 times before you give it.
2. Segues will save you.
- The most obvious place you will lose people is in your segues, so be clear and precise.
- Write them out.
- Assume that your audience doesn’t know what you’re talking about. We are speaking to a mostly biblically illiterate generation.
- If you’re going to sound bad, it will happen during your segues.
- Segues are the sign posts within your message. (Recommendation of Communicating for a Change book)
- The overall logic of your talk is always clearer to you than it is to your audience.
- If you read your segue sentences only and they make sense as a whole, you probably have a clear talk.
3. Create a social strategy.
- Be a learner of the culture that your students
- Be a digital sojourner in order to traverse it.
- Students want to be publishers.
- Enlist students’ help, and the difference will be amazing! They want to hear from other digital natives.
- Setup the boundaries, and they can play within it.
4. Give them a story they can tell.
- Help your students be able to tell their story.
- Train them and give them the tools:
- Keep it short and simple.
- Cut out the unnecessary parts.
- Remember it’s not about you.
- Avoid shock value.
- Follow the 30/70 rule (30% before Christ / 70% after Christ)
5. Think steps, not just sermon/programs.
- Before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you want to go.
- The sermon is the beginning. Think about all the steps that will happen afterward.
- There is a definitive distinction to be made between a step and a program. Help them walk through their next steps on their own, not just attend a program.
At the end of all this, Karl told us to practice, be specific, and be intentional. Your aspiration should not be to stand in front of others as an expert one day. God has called you to a specific group of students. Make that the heartbeat of your ministry, and God will bless it.