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Be ready to tell the story and share your passion for BCH

September 9, 2013

By Michael C. Blackwell, President/CEO

Every day – in every way – we communicate. With voice, face, eyes, body – we communicate. And when we communicate, we should keep the words of 1 Peter 3:15 in mind: In your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

There is great joy in being a Christian, but there is great responsibility, too. Just look around you. Most people walk through life anxious, worried, distracted, stressed, overwhelmed. But when one encounters someone who speaks with a light in their eyes, an energy in their bones, and a fervor in their spirit, that person stands out.

It makes others feel better just to be around someone with that kind of passion. I contend that Baptist Children’s Homes’ friends and supporters are women and men with that kind of passion! You are that kind of person, that kind of Christian, that kind of man or woman. You are the one who has Christ; you are the one who has the answer when asked to give a reason for the hope you have.

So, when you are called on to say a good word about Baptist Children’s Homes, do so with a level of energy, excitement and enthusiasm. Stand tall. Smile. The world can do with a little more passion. Let it begin with you – this very day, this very moment. Never fail to astonish!

If you don’t think you have that kind of “fire in the belly,” take heart from these words by Winnie the Pooh:

You are braver than you believe,
You are stronger than you seem,
You are smarter than you think.

And here’s the best part: you are not alone. God is with you. . .in you. . .for you. God is on your side because you are on God’s side.

Tell the BCH story with gentleness and respect. At the drop of a hat, tell that story. I don’t know about you, but “I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in Glory, to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.”

This is why we help children. This is why we help educate young people with scholarships and loans. This is why we help the frail elderly through our North Carolina Baptist Aging Ministry. That is why we work in our own Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, but it also is why our work – and our influence – now extends to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Our supporters love, trust and respect us. We love, trust and respect our supporters.

That’s the way it should be. And that’s the way it has been since November 11, 1885 – the date of our founding almost 128 years ago.

Toastmasters International's 10 Tips for Public Speaking

1. Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected.

3. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.

4. Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.

5. Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. ("One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.

6. Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

7. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative, and entertaining. They’re rooting for you.

8. Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.

9. Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.

10. Gain experience. Mainly, your speech should represent you – as an authority and as a person. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking. A Toastmasters club can provide the experience you need in a safe and friendly environment.