I’ve heard it said that you learn to teach by teaching. You learn to preach by preaching. “Practice makes perfect.” I’d say that practice does help. And some other resources can help too, like a personal coach and looking at a broader range of samples than just a few favorites. As someone who does public speaking once in a while, I’m realizing the process is discovering your strength in speaking with your own voice and style.
Dave Stone’s Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators [unfortunately, out of print; cf. preview excerpts in Google Books] is a phenomenal book that describes 13 different preaching/teaching styles: Creative Storyteller, Direct Spokesperson, Scholarly Analytic, Revolutionary Leader, Engaging Humorist, Convincing Apologist, Inspiring Orator, Practical Applicator, Persuasive Motivator, Passionate Teacher, Relevant Illustrator, Cultural Prophet, and Unorthodox Artist. And he deconstructs seasoned communicators like Zig Ziglar, Max Lucado, Chuck Colson, Max Lucado, Lee Strobel, Franklin Graham, Kirbyjon Caldwell, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, Tim Keller, Gene Appel.
Another book that’s coming in January 2012 looks really promising = Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers by Simon Vibert [cf. table of contents] with color commentary on preaching by Tim Keller, John Piper, Nicky Gumbel, Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, John Ortberg.
Just hearing and reading what they preach is one thing. To get an explanation of how they’re crafting their words and preparing their delivery — now that’s gold!
And, there’s Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body, and Animation in Proclamation by Teresa L. Fry Brown (cf. Table of Contents, Introduction, Chapter 1) and Preaching to a Shifting Culture: 12 Perspectives on Communicating that Connects, edited by Scott M. Gibson, has a collection of essays about issues related to contextualizing, i.e. preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures, utilizing the “Speech Act” theory in preaching, the message of the Kingdom of God, sermons that connect to the atonement of Christ, importance of authorial intent, argumentation and structure, knowing your audience, psychology and mindset, globalization and authority.
On the occasion when your public speaking can be enhanced with visuals, the 2 bestselling books on presentations are — Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Garr Reynolds) and Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Nancy Duarte).
I loved watching the recent talk about WordPress by Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word, with a beautiful set of slides. The ideating behind the making of those slides of Michael Pick’s thought processes is also a fascinating read. See the slides for yourself.