You…the speaker!

Rebecca Stuhlmiller will be at NCWA’s Renewal Conference. See end of post for details.

If you are writing, then one day you will be speaking. Daunting? Yes. Impossible? No!  In Communicating for a Change, Andy Stanley teaches a 5-step message preparation plan guaranteed to engage a listener and make it easy for you to prepare a dynamic talk.

  • Me: Imagine your audience reclining in their chairs, arms crossed, thinking, “Who is this person, and why should I listen to her?” Because this is your audience. Before people will listen to you, they want to know who you are and why you have the authority to speak on your topic. So introduce yourself with a relevant story. Engage their minds, tug at their hearts, and be transparent. But don’t sound like “the expert,” or you will lose them before you get to the good stuff. Memorize your story so you can tell it naturally. Keep it short, 3 to 4 minutes long, because although your audience wants to know you, mostly, they want to know themselves.
  • We: As your audience listens to your story, they must be thinking, Me too! Use a transition question to draw them in, like “Am I the only one who’s ever struggled with this?” or “Can anyone else relate?” You are inviting your audience to join you on the journey. This section is short, two or three sentences. Stanley writes, “Don’t transition from WE… until you feel like you have created a tension that your audience is dying for you to resolve…assume no interest.”
  • God: Andy Stanley calls this section “God” because he is primarily writing about teaching spiritual truths. But even if your topic is a practical skill, this section is simply the “meat” of your talk. Here you share the bulk of your information and teach what you have learned. Use relevant Scripture, quotes, anecdotes, statistics and facts. Dig deep but don’t make it dry. Continue to connect by weaving in story.
  • You: Information without application is useless, so call your audience to action. Consider their variety of personalities, lifestyles, and learning styles, and give them a starting place. Then suggest the next step, and the next. There is nothing more boring than listening to a speaker share a concept but never get to the “how to” part. If possible, make handouts for your audience. They appreciate having them to refer to later.

  • We: Your audience has heard your struggle (ME), related to it (WE), learned about it (GOD), and been given a starting place with steps to follow (YOU).  Finally, you close with a powerful story. Suggest what can happen—what will happen!—if they put into practice what they have heard. Inspire them to “imagine if…” When they hear what God has done for you, or what He has taught you, they will have hope for themselves.

Now, spend time writing a rough draft of your talk using this outline and you will have laid the foundation for your speaking platform.


Rebecca Stuhlmiller will be co-presenting a workshop at NCWA’s Renewal Conference on May 20-21. Register soon rates go up on April 1st.

Rebecca is a speaker, writer, and church worker whose mission, based on Colossians 1:28, is to help people realize their full potential in Jesus Christ. She’s been a member of NCWA since 2009, and is currently in the Certificate of Lay Ministry program at Whitworth University. Visit her website at:

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About nwchristianwriters

The Northwest Christian Writers Association is an organization of writers providing instruction, encouragement, fellowship, critiquing, and networking. Its purpose is to develop excellent, professional writing that honors God and serves others.

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