John Steward of Jesus
  The "Good News" (Gospel) > Archives > Other Writings 1979-1985 > Effective Speaking

Effective Speaking

November 16, 1980
(written as self-guidance more than as advice for others)

Before speaking, remember, for effectiveness in truth promotion:

Be genuine in complimenting and appreciating what people are and what they are doing whenever possible.  Tell them so, often.  Establish rapport on a personal basis before discussing issues.  People must feel comfortable and accepted on a personal level so that they will be able to explore issues honestly and openly without feeling threatened.

Stick to the heart of an issue.  Repeat and emphasize the central question and its implications for the individuals in the discussion.  Make the issue relevant and personal.

Do not get into debates regarding the position of a historic figure or authority.  This leads to scholarly disputes which seek to determine who is the best scholar, not the truth of the issue.  Do not appeal to authorities.  Appeal only to the truth of a matter.  Do not criticize or personally attack those with a contrary opinion.  Their friends will defend them and forget the issue.  Spend time affirming the truth rather than denying falsehood.  Use positive rather than negative appeal, the carrot technique rather than the big stick technique.

Because truth always is the friend of honest and productive people, their welfare and best interests should always be in the forefront.  Show genuine empathy and concern for the everyday life situation of many occupational types.  Identify with their problems and show how the truth will provide the best long-term relief.  Identify with their hopes and show that the truth is the best basis on which to work toward them.  Identify with their fears and show that the truth is the best defense against them.

Do not, ever, try to impress anyone with your knowledge or learning.  Let the truth speak for itself. Those who promote truth will generate respect.  Those who display their learning may generate envy or suspicion.

Show immediate appreciation for anyone who indicates sympathy with a position of truth.

Imply that those who hold contrary views are misinformed or misguided, rather than intentionally promoting error.

Use humor in which all can share the laugh.