The Skill of Speaking

Once walking on the beach I came upon a fellow painting a picture of the ocean and the beach that was in front of him. I stopped and asked if I could watch him paint, and he said, ” I would be honored”, so I stood behind him and watched for 20 to 30 minutes. He was very good at painting, and I was reminded again of a life principle of mine, “God has created us with the amazing ability to learn and to acquire great skill in whatever we set our mind on and practice diligently”. We are easily drawn to those things that we have some natural and God given talent or giftedness in, but in order to be highly skilled much practice and learning is still required. Very few people are willing to give the time and effort in practice and learning to become one of those really skilled people. There are key parts of our inner person, our soul, and our character that are developed as we pay the price to become very, very good at something. I have a goal of learning a new skill every year, and I think about what the new skill will be that I will learn, all year long as read about people, and meet people who have extraordinary skills that have obviously been developed to a very high level. Most of the new skills I learn I don’t pursue much more than a year or two as I move on to new things to learn, but a few things I stick with, working at becoming excellent at. One of those is, “speaking to people in such a way that they understand the message clearly, are powerfully motivated to put it into practice, and that it changes their behavior and character”. This Bible verse expresses my desire in this area,

Proverbs 16:23-24 “The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. Pleasant words are a honeycomb sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

I have a list of disciplines that I faithfully practice over and over to inch my way to greater mastery in this skill. I am always reading a good book on speaking, teaching, communication, and preaching, taking notes of those things that I need to work on. I listen almost daily to the best preachers and public speakers there are, and think and evaluate about what makes them good, and I write those things down, I listen to myself and become my own worst critic of my weaknesses and things I need to improve on, and I write this blog almost daily, recognizing that the better I get at writing the better I will get at speaking. I want to learn to write in a way that is captivating, that is the reader can’t quit reading until finished, I want to learn to paint pictures with words so the message or idea can be seen clearly in the reader’ minds eye, and I want to stir the soul of the person reading so that they are compelled to grow, pursue, and change.

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