Tips for Speaking On Stage

Speaking onstage can be a daunting task (in many polls it’s identified as humanity’s number one fear). And yet a huge part of the worship leader’s role today involves public speaking. The good news is that, just like anything in life, with practice and intention, you can improve your public speaking ability. A skilled orator can lift people’s eyes, imaginations, and hearts to the throne of God, invoking awe, wonder, and worship. In this short episode I give 15 tips to help you grow in your public speaking ability, as well as some real examples of what you can say at the various stages of your worship service.

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Alex Enfiedjian 00:00 This episode is sponsored by planning center services. Planning Center is my favorite software for organizing, scheduling, planning and executing my services. I use it not only for the songs, but also for things like scripture slides, or times where I’m going to be speaking like we’ll be talking about today. And even what the pastor’s sermon passage is going to cover, that way everybody can see an accurate layout of the morning, you can check out Planning Center for free for 30 days. And then after that plans start at just $14 a month. Check it all out at planning dot center.

Alex Enfiedjian 00:41 Today’s episode is all about speaking on stage 15 tips to improve your public speaking from the platform.

Alex Enfiedjian 00:48 And I just

Alex Enfiedjian 00:48 want to put it out there, all the episodes that I try to do are covering core topics that worship leaders face in their everyday worship leading lives. And so if you have another topic that you feel like I haven’t yet covered, that is kind of foundational to what worship leaders do on a weekly basis. Please email me, Alex at worship ministry training calm, and let me know what you think I need to cover still, I really want to create a very robust online archive of practical topics. So please email me, and I will try to cover those topics for you. Today, we’re talking about speaking on stage. And what prompted this was a question that came in from a listener named Brooklyn. She said, Hello, I’m a young listener of your show, I lead worship weekly for my mega church. And I’ve been struggling to find confidence in speaking on stage. For example, I never know what to say in between songs or what I should pray about, or how I should introduce a new song, she says I’d love to be able to learn how to talk with boldness and not even think twice about it. So this is for you, Brooklyn, and for all the other worship leaders who want to grow in our public speaking. So I want to say this before we start songs are just one of many tools that we can use to lead people in worship, you know, we can use many things during our worship time to point people’s hearts towards Jesus. And speaking is a very key factor in the ability to lead people towards Jesus. And I think a skilled orator can really lift people’s eyes, their imaginations and their hearts to the throne of God to invoke worship without even playing one chord on a guitar. And I found that speaking really, really helps lead people in worship, it helps engage them, it helps take the focus off of the music. And it really just connects you to the people and the people to you, so that you guys can go on a journey to the Lord together. So speaking is really an important part of leading worship. And so I have a list of 15 tips that I want to just run through quickly to help you improve your public speaking on the platform. And at the end of the list, I have a couple other thoughts about the different times in a service, when we’re going to probably be speaking and what you can say in those times. And so let’s just jump into the list. And we’ll go through it quickly. Tip number one, start with a quick greeting. So I’ve said this before, but I typically don’t start my worship services with the music, like I like to have people stand, I welcome them, I tell them, you know, so glad you’re here. Let’s stand. We are here to worship Jesus, we are here to fix our eyes on him. And whatever has gone on in our week, it’s time to leave that out the door and come just as we are to enter in to the presence of God through worship. And that little greeting is just such a helpful way for people to reset. And like I said at the beginning, it kind of takes the pressure off that this is not a performance. We are here for this purpose to meet with Jesus. And it just helps people reset their minds and focus their attention on why they are in the room. So start with a quick greeting. The second thing is when you’re greeting I found that using humor can really take the edge off and break the ice and allow people to loosen up a little bit. And so for example, I’m not saying you need to be a stand up comedian, but just where it’s appropriate sprinkling in some humor like this. So after Thanksgiving, the Sunday following I said good morning, everybody How y’all doing? How was Thanksgiving and they all cheered or whatever. I said, How many of you ate way too much Turkey and they like giggled and raise their hands. I said, How many of you had to move your belt over one notch on your belt loop? And a couple of people you know, raise their hand. I said, Good job. You guys ate just enough? And I said, Well, we do have a lot to be thankful for, don’t we? And they said yes. Amen. And then I said, All right, well, let’s pray and then we’ll sing. So again, appropriate humor allowed people to kind of chuckle and loosen up. And remember that, you know, this is not like a show or anything. So we’re all here. We’re a family. And we’re just a bunch of goofballs in a room trying to worship Jesus. So that is point number two, use humor appropriately. Number three is to be brief if you noticed that both of those greetings that I gave were under 30 seconds, okay. You don’t want to Speak too much, you’re not there to preach a second sermon. You know, in everything that we’re doing as worship leaders, we’re not trying to draw attention to ourselves, we’re trying to point the attention to Jesus. And if you’re going to take 567 minutes to share this long story about how, you know, God was so faithful to you, and this and your family, well, you’re talking about you a lot, okay? So try to just use your statements to be punchy and short and impactful, you want to be brief, you’re not the pastor, you’re not there to preach a second sermon. So as a general rule, don’t talk too much. Number four, tip, space it out, space it out, you don’t need to talk in between every song or before every element.

Alex Enfiedjian 05:43 So for me, if I pray at the beginning of the set to start the first song, I usually won’t pray again until after the second song, so two full songs go by, and then I will maybe just have them sit down and say, Jesus, yeah, we are so grateful for your grace, and then go right into the next song. So something very short, maybe after the second song, or I don’t say anything at all, until you know the end of the set. And then I pray again, you don’t need to say something in between each song. Because if you’ve crafted your set well, and you’ve tied your songs together thematically, like I’ve talked about in other podcasts, which you should check out, then the songs themselves will speak and lead people on the journey. So I’ll put a link in this episode show notes to the episode that I put about set building and how to build beautiful sets. But number four is space it out, don’t talk in between every song number five is to have a game plan, have a game plan? You know, you don’t want to just wing this kind of stuff. I always ask God on Sunday morning, Lord, what do you want to say to your people this morning? So when I’m getting ready in the morning, I’m brushing my teeth, I’m getting dressed. I’m asking God, Lord, what do you want to say to your church this morning? You know, and I’m just listening that morning, I’m you know, looking at scripture, Lord, do you want to say something specific to people today. And if I hear something specific from the Lord, then I go with that. And I come in with that game plan with that word of encouragement for the people. But if I don’t hear anything from the Lord really clearly about what I should say, in between songs, or what I should say, to start the morning, then I typically just keep it very generic, and just trust that God’s going to speak in other ways to the people in the service. And so I try to have a game plan if I don’t hear something from the Lord specifically, like, say this, or maybe you should say this. And again, these are impressions. It’s like, you know, who knows if it’s really God, or if it’s just indigestion, but I do try to have a game plan of what I’m going to say. And if I don’t know what to say, it’s better to not say anything. So with that said, if you’re newer to speaking on stage, the sixth thing is to actually practice what you’re going to say. So if you feel the Lord is saying, I want you to talk about such and such, then you should be backstage, practicing those words, so that you get it out well, especially if you’re a newer worship leader, or you’re not very gifted at speaking, you should practice practice makes perfect. And so practice backstage to get the words out. And we’ll talk about it later. But writing it down can also help you clarify your thoughts. So practice backstage, but also seven is to practice on stage, practice your speaking on stage, this is very, very important, because it helps your band know when you’re going to speak. Like if you just surprise them in the middle of service, they’re going to maybe hit the wrong chords, or they’re going to, you know, maybe they rush to the chorus, maybe you wanted to say something in the middle of a song. And they don’t know that and you just blurt it out, well, it’s going to throw everything off. So you want to practice onstage, not just for your band, but also for the tech team. So the sound guy can turn up your mic a little more, because when you speak, it’s quieter than when you’re singing. So he might need to know when you’re going to speak or not might he does need to know when you’re going to speak so that he can turn you up or turn off the effects. If he has reverb on your voice while you’re singing. He needs to turn that off. Or she needs to turn that off for when you speak. So practice it onstage because that is going to help the band and the tech people be able to support you as you speak. So practice it onstage. That’s number seven. Number eight is an encouragement to you about what to say. And my encouragement to everybody in this generation of constant distraction is to constantly be filling up with good thoughts constantly be filling up with good thoughts, because we live in a society of shallowness of distracted pneus of scatterbrained ness, you know, Instagram and Twitter and all these things YouTube that are just trying to keep us in the shallows. And if you aren’t thinking about deep things or biblical things or good things Then you don’t really have anything to share. And so I would encourage you to be in the Word of God, you know, as often as possible so that God’s word is getting saturated in your heart, in your mind getting stored up there, so that when you do speak, so that when you do pray, it comes out naturally. But that’s not just the Bible, you can read other books about God, or just do some deep thinking and some journaling. And that way, you have something good to say, worship, leading is all about wonder, being in awe and wonder of God. And so if you’re always distracted, you’re never giving yourself time to think, then you will never have anything worthwhile to say. So tip number eight is to just constantly be filling yourself up with deep thoughts, good thoughts, whatever is good, whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is noble, whatever is excellent, whatever is praiseworthy, think about these things. Number eight. Number nine is similar to number eight, which is to borrow language, borrow language,

Alex Enfiedjian 11:00 you don’t have to come up with all the good things to say, okay? Like, if you’re not sure what to say, just read a psalm, borrow language, from the Puritan prayers, you know, there are all these really great prayers that have been written over the centuries, like, you could just borrow a prayer and pray that it’s always safe and easy and effective to just read something that someone else who’s godly has written. So you don’t have to create your own thing, borrow language. Number 10 tip to improving your public speaking is to write it down. If you’re newer to this, writing it down is so helpful. I have a newer worship leader who when he prayed, he prayed kind of long, windy prayers kind of all over the place. And I had to encourage him, I said, Look, I know this is weird, but I want you to sit down before the service. And I want you to write your prayers down, put it in your Bible, and open it up and read it from your Bible, read your prayer from your Bible, or put it on your music stand. After the last song, you turn the page. And there it is the prayer, you’re going to read the prayer and practice it out loud. writing your prayers down does not mean they’re inauthentic. Okay? It just means that you are focusing what you’re praying about. And so write your prayers down and practice them during rehearsal. And as you get more comfortable, you’ll have to script it less. But there’s nothing wrong with writing down what you want to pray, or what you want to say. And putting it in your Bible or putting it on your music stand. And then just speaking it with authenticity and speaking it with inflection in your voice, you know, you don’t want to sound like you’re reading it. But it’s there as a guide to help you get across what you’re trying to get across. Number 10. Write it down. Number 11 is to be aware of your body language, be aware of your body language, you know, how are you standing? Are you awkward when you stand? Are you using your hands or your hands in your pocket? Do you not know what to do with your hands, you know, something that you can really do to improve your body language is to watch yourself on film. And so get a camera, put it in the back of the room and watch yourself on film. It’ll show you what you’re doing that’s distracting with your body. And a tip that I heard from a pastor is if you watch yourself in fast forward, it will over exaggerate your common motions. And it will help you see what you keep doing over and over and over again, that kind of is getting obnoxious. So but I think the number one thing about body language is just being aware of your body and being aware of what your body’s doing while you’re speaking. Number 12 is to make eye contact. So eye contact is an interesting thing when you’re speaking because it can be awkward to look at somebody in the eyeballs and speak as if you’re talking to them. I personally don’t like that feeling. And maybe it’s awkward for the people to who are being stared at. But what I do is I just scan around the room, you know, we have a big room. So I have to look far to the left and far to the right. And I have to make sure that my mouth is still pointed at my microphone. And I typically look right above people’s heads. And I just scan around the room. And then it looks like I’m looking at them, but I’m not really looking at them. So but make eye contact, so to speak, that’ll help you be engaging. Number 13 is just to be yourself. You know, like God made you who you are. And God has gifted you and God has given you your personality, and you need to just be real, you know, I found the best thing in leading people is just to be real to be myself. And so when you’re on stage, don’t try to put off a persona that’s not you don’t try to be perfect. Just be real. You know, a lot of times what I’ll say during our greeting time is like, Hey, welcome to our church. If you’re brand new, if this is your first second or third time I hope you’re feeling welcomed here. Hope you’re feeling integrated and loved. And, you know, you’re just one of us. We’re just a bunch of people trying to follow Jesus and stumbling along the way and we’re thankful for God’s grace, amen. You know, I’m being real. I’m not putting myself up on a pedestal, I’m not trying to be more holy than I am. Because I think that people relate to that. And so be yourself. Number 14, we have to more be sensitive to the moment, you know, I said to be humorous sometimes, but sometimes you need to be serious. And so just learning to read the room, learning to be appropriate to the tone in that room. So here’s an example from this past Sunday. So we had a beautiful time of worship. Our closing song was what a beautiful name it is. And it’s, you know, ends with what a powerful name it is the name of Jesus, and it’s just so epic. And like everyone’s like, in love with Jesus at that moment. And you know, we pray, in Jesus name, amen. Amen. And then everybody claps you praise the Lord, everybody. Well, before you sit down, why don’t you turn to somebody and say, Hello. And this time I said, and why don’t you find out what their favorite ice cream is? And, you know, people laughed, and then they actually did that, you know, kind of, but I kind of had this thought was, was that a little bit too flippant? Was

Alex Enfiedjian 15:59 that a little bit too sacrilege to throw in that ice cream comment? Right after we had this really deep worship time? You know, I wasn’t sure. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever know the answer. But that was just something that I thought maybe I wouldn’t say that next time, you know. So anyway, just sharing my thoughts. Maybe it’s helpful to someone. So but learning to be sensitive to the moment learning to read the room learning to be able to lead people where they need to go, and being funny when it’s time to be funny, being sacred, when it’s time to be sacred. And just be sensitive to the moment. And then the final tip is to keep it on theme point. 15 is to keep it on theme. And if you’re not sure what to say something that you can say is to flow out of the theme of the previous song, and pray about that. Okay, so if the song is about the name of Jesus, then pray about the name of Jesus, you know, if the song is about, we love you, Jesus, then pray, Lord, we love you, and just flow out of the theme of the song, either previous song or the upcoming song. But keeping it on theme is very important. And that’ll help you know what to say. So that those are some tips 15 tips, I want to talk about a few times that you can speak in a service. So I’m going to go through these quickly, and share what you can say in each one of these moments. You can also check out an episode I did with Zack Hicks, about using worship services to shape people’s souls. We talked a little bit about that there. But the call to worship is a great time to speak. Okay, that means when people come in you stand on stage. Good morning, everyone. Let’s stand. You can read a psalm that talks about let’s sing to the Lord, you could just welcome people during that time. Your intro prayer before the first song is a great time to speak or pray song introductions, if you’re introducing a new song. Typically, I don’t like to tell a big story about a new song, I try to keep these to a minimum. I’m usually speaking while I’m playing the music, like so the intro is playing. And I’ll just say, Hey, guys, we’re going to teach you a new song this morning about the grace of God. Let’s just let these words really encourage your hearts and the melodies very easy. So as you catch on, let’s just jump in and sing along with us. That’s literally how I introduce a new song. Nothing more than that. Offering introduction is a great time to speak. So we’re gonna invite the ushers to come forward at this time. And as we give remember that giving is also an act of worship, because we’re surrendering or showing the Lord that we’re trusting him with our finances. And we’re saying, Lord, take us and use all that we have and all that we are for Your glory. So the ushers can come forward, and we’ll take the offering. Service close is also time that you can speak. And the last place where you can speak that you may not have thought about before is actually in the middle of a song. So for example, we were singing the song, lay me down,

Alex Enfiedjian 18:44 I lay me down on my own,

Alex Enfiedjian 18:46 okay, so before the bridge, it goes to that like four on the floor. And it’s the bridge says, it will be my joy to say your will your way. And so what I did, is when we got to that bridge, instrumental part I said, the next lyric says it will be my joy to say your will your way and, and maybe that’s true of you, maybe you can say, Lord, Everything I have is yours, I want to do your will. But maybe some of you, there’s something in your life that that’s not true for you, and you want it to be true. You want to say Lord in this area, have your will and have your way in my life. And so my encouragement to you is as we sing this, let’s just make this our prayer. Are you ready? It will be module It is okay. And that and we go into it and using that during the song exhortation helps connect the lyrics to their heart and makes them sing it out as a prayer. So those are some of the times in a service when you can speak. So I want to wrap it up by just saying public speaking is just like anything else in life. You can keep improving at practice makes perfect. So take a class if you need to read a book, watch a TED talk, practice, practice, practice, okay? And honestly, if it’s really not your gift, like maybe you have a stutter, you can sing fine but you have a stutter. When you speak well, then maybe you should assign it to someone else, you know, that’s totally fine to do it is to say, this is not my gift, I’m going to let my background vocalist do it. I’m going to let the pastor do it. But I’m not going to speak and that’s okay. But in closing, when you speak, my encouragement to you, especially you new worship leaders is to be confident in God, and trust that he uses donkeys like baylands, donkey to speak. And often I have to remember when things don’t go as well or sound as well as I wanted them to or as I planned them to, that God is actually working in those times better than if I had said it perfectly eloquently. You know, he doesn’t need my eloquence. He just needs my reliance. And so rely on him to work be desperate for him and say, Lord, if you don’t work through my strength or my weakness, this is not going to bear any fruit. So be confident and God, stay connected to divine and believe that He will speak through you to his people because he wants to bless His church and He will bless His Church in spite of you. So, be encouraged hope these 15 tips helped and go speak for the glory of God. God bless