I believe I was prompted by God to apply for TEDx Hickory last year. I’m glad I did. I didn’t get accepted but I learned a lot. I shared a little about what I learned in my blog: CHOOSE.
I pray you’re willing to obey even when it doesn’t go as you thought. God prompted me to apply. He didn’t guarantee I’d be accepted. It’s possible for the enemy to cause a sense of failure. Reject that! Obedience is never a failure.
Check this out…
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.”
1 Corinthians 1:27 (NIV)
Be willing to look foolish and weak for God. I’ll share a future blog about this. I seem to have mastered looking foolish and weak for God. Somehow he uses this for his glory. Ok, let’s continue…
I’m incredibly grateful for what I’ve learned from TEDx even though I wasn’t chosen. I’m still learning. Allow me to share a little more.
I attended TEDx Raleigh. There were 12 speakers who spoke 12 minutes each. I listened to them all for 4 hours and here’s what I learned:
The speakers who captured and kept the audience’s attention were storytellers, not lecturers. The speakers who had a lesson to share, a point to make, an idea to get across were not as engaging as the speakers who simply told their stories and used it to make a point.
By the end of the day it was obvious to me why they were chosen and I was not. I had pitched a speech. I had not pitched a story. I know now there is a big difference.
Earlier I had read Building Your Story Brand by Donald Miller. It is a must read for every communicator. Miller states that God has created the human brain to follow stories. When I was reading it I was obsessed with its content. Miller talks a lot about the anatomy of stories. He discussed the main characters of stories.
When I went to TEDx Raleigh, I left with a new appreciation for the style of storytelling. I’ve been missing this as a communicator.
God led me to write my books in a conversational style. One of the greatest compliments came from my Campus Pastor, Matt Bush:
When reading Get to the Point, it felt like I was sitting across the table from Kevin White having a cup of coffee. Kevin is a blessing to us all, and his passion for more of the presence of God in people’s lives is both refreshing and challenging! All throughout his life’s work, Kevin continues his plea for all people to discover what God has for them and to drive to the heart of God. – Matt Bush, Campus Pastor, Elevation Church, Morrisville, North Carolina USA
I’m thankful for the guidance of God to write conversationally.
One of my good friends has really been challenging me with my speaking style. She introduced me to a communications coach named Helen. Right after I attended TEDx Raleigh, I sent Helen some samples of my speaking. When we met she played some of my samples and then some of others. It was obvious. I was a passionate and aggressive preacher and not a calm and engaging storyteller. I asked Helen to help me and she agreed.
Thank God for TEDx Raleigh!
I’m now on a path to become a storyteller. The fact is, a person can change their style! The content God entrust to us is too important to not work hard to be as effective as we can be. God has been so gracious and faithful to me. The least I can do is learn to be a better communicator.
I’m not alone. You prefer storytellers more than lecturers too. We all do! If you’re a communicator, let go of any style that distracts people and jeopardizes the effectiveness of your message. God’s word is worth your best effort. Never stop learning.
I have a long way to go but I’m learning to:
- Slow down my speed of talking.
- Speak with a rhythm (my coach describes it like a smooth dance with highs and lows).
- Identify and remove things that cause me a sense of pressure like using too many slides.
- Speak calmly.
- Inject some stories. Go briefly off script to share a story instead of all bam bam bam with 1, 2, & 3 points.
- Look into the camera or make eye to eye contact when talking to a person.
- Be willing to pause where I don’t say anything at all in between phrases.
This is only the beginning! I’m thankful to see immediate progress.
When I started writing books, one of the first things my editors talked to me about is the use of exclamation points. I got this habit of using too much of it!!! Hahaha not just one exclamation point but 3 or more!!!
My editors told me that if everything has an exclamation point then it looses its value. It was a sobering reality check when she said, “You should only have 10 exclamation points in the whole book.”
Hahaha I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding!!!” Nope! She wasn’t kidding.
This taught me a lot about the value of highs and lows. Not everything can be exclaimed.
I was just a very passionate person. I wanted to emphasize everything!!! The problem was, it was loosing its emphasis. The overuse of exclamation points was distracting and making my message ineffective.
Fortunately, both of my books contain very few exclamation points and they were properly used. You can teach an old dog new tricks!!!!! 😀
In the same way, I’m now learning to change my style. I’m transitioning from an aggressive preacher to an engaging storyteller.
Let’s all determine to be the best we can be. Never stop learning. Keep a firm grip of God’s Word but let go of anything that distracts people from His message. God is worthy! The message God gives us is too important to not do anything we can to be the most effective communicator possible for the glory of God.
I sincerely thank TEDx for these invaluable lessons!
I’m an international speaker and bestselling author of Audacious Generosity and Get to The Point. I love helping people everywhere to prosper in God’s presence.
As a serial entrepreneur, I’ve helped start hundreds of businesses, nonprofits and churches. As Founder/Executive Director of Global Hope India, I have traveled over 1 million miles to 27 different countries speaking to thousands of audiences throughout India and the world.
In addition to leading Global Hope India full-time, I’m CEO of Spirit Media. We help globally recognized, prophetic thought leaders to package their content into books and publish them worldwide for global reach. Visit https://spiritmedia.us for full details. Let’s get you published!
Visit kevinwhite.us for my books, 1 minute motivation series, podcasts, and services. You’ll also find videos, slides, and transcripts from previous keynote messages such as:
Me and my wife, Shelly, are high school sweethearts who have been married for 34 years. We have three adult children and one granddaughter. Shelly and I live in Cary, North Carolina.
Connect with me at kevinwhite.us