“It’s short. I like it,” reviewed the Muppet critics following Mr. Fezziwig’s Christmas speech in the movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol. Likewise, author Quentin Schultze has penned a 112-page guide for those launching or improving their speaking abilities.
An Essential Guide to Public Speaking: Serving Your Audience with Faith, Skill, and Virtue is written with grace and humility. A college professor at the University of Illinois, Schultze has spent three decades speaking to his classroom, at conferences, businesses, and on broadcast programs as a news source and commentator. Far from an instruction manual according to Schultze, the author peppered the manuscript with the insights of notable speakers from Augustine to Elie Wiesel to Mike Yaconelli. Speaking tips are highlighted in colorful boxes.
To the reluctant, Schultze writes, “Public speaking is inevitable. We may need to give eulogies, lead group discussions, pray publicly, present awards, participate in civic meetings, and much more.” Biblically, speech is “a gift and a responsibility for the service of our neighbors.” To quote from another speaker, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” (1 Peter 3:15).
Chapters in this handbook include “Addressing Challenges,” “Listening Well,” “Crafting Artfully,” “Speaking Truthfully,” and “Being Virtuous.” The author addresses the destructive fear most people face regarding public speaking. Statistics reveal that the majority would rather die than speak before a group. Moses was the visual aid, “Lord, send Aaron.”
“On the flip side of destructive fear is excessive ego evident in self-righteous and self-centered speech,” observes Schultze. “Ego is heady stuff, especially for skilled presenters.” Should we be tempted, Schultze steers readers away from boring audiences with an inflated ego.
A practical tool, An Essential Guide to Public Speaking includes five appendixes. By using these checklists and the sample speech outline, anyone can craft a worthy presentation.
Over the years, I’ve read a number of books on public speaking. In this category, An Essential Guide to Public Speaking is my top pick. And it’s short. – PeggySue Wells, Christian Book Previews.com
As followers of the Word in the information/media age, all Christian students need education in becoming more effective communicators who also embody biblical values. Unfortunately, apart from homiletics texts, there is little available on the art and craft of public speaking from a Christian perspective. And many public speaking textbooks are overly technical for the average college student. An Essential Guide to Public Speaking fills this gap, providing a brief and accessible yet content-rich textbook for use in public speaking courses at Christian colleges and universities.
Quentin Schultze calls readers to become servant speakers who serve audiences as neighbors, embody Christian virtues, and present technically well-crafted speeches. Topics covered in the book include the biblical value of effective communication, overcoming challenges to speaking, the importance of listening and research, speaking truthfully, and discourse in the public arena. The book is also filled with servant speaking tips and includes several helpful and practical appendices. Students who practice the guidelines in this book will be equipped with both helpful skills and an understanding of a Christian ethos on public speaking. While designed primarily for college courses, this book is also suitable as an ancillary text for seminary preaching courses.