Manifesting Enthusiasm and Warmth
1. What will stimulate enthusiasm?
1 Enthusiasm is the life of a talk. If you are not enthusiastic about what you say, your audience certainly will not be. If it does not move you, it will not move them. But for you as a speaker to manifest genuine enthusiasm, you must be firmly convinced that your audience needs to hear what you have to say. That means that you took them into consideration when you prepared the talk, selecting points that would be most beneficial to them and molding them in such a way that your hearers would readily appreciate their value. If you have done this, you will feel impelled to speak with earnestness, and your audience will respond.
2-5. How does an animated delivery express enthusiasm?
2 Enthusiasm shown by animated delivery. Enthusiasm is most clearly manifested by the animation of your delivery. You cannot be indifferent or lackadaisical in attitude. You must be thoroughly alive in your facial expression, in your tone of voice and in your manner of speaking. That means you must speak with strength and vigor. You must sound convinced though not dogmatic. While you should be enthusiastic, you should never get carried away. To lose self-control means to lose your audience.
3 Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are enthusiastic about your talk, your audience will pick up that enthusiasm. In turn, with good audience contact, it will be reflected back to you and keep your own enthusiasm alive. On the other hand, if you are dead, your audience will die with you.
4 Paul says we should be aglow with God’s spirit. If you are, your animated delivery will cause God’s spirit to flow over into the audience and move your audience to activity. Apollos showed such spirit in his speaking, and he is called an eloquent speaker.—Rom. 12:11; Acts 18:25; Job 32:18-20; Jer. 20:9.
5 To be enthusiastic about a talk you must be convinced that you have something worth delivering. Work on the material you are going to present until you feel you have something that will first stimulate you as the speaker. It need not be new material, but your approach to the subject can be fresh. If you feel that you have something for your audience that will strengthen them in their worship, that will make them better ministers or better Christians, then you have every reason to be enthusiastic about your talk, and unquestionably you will be.
6-9. What bearing does the material in one’s talk have on enthusiasm in the delivery?
6 Enthusiasm appropriate to material. For the sake of variety in your talk and to benefit your audience, you must not carry your enthusiasm on too high a plane throughout your entire talk. If you do, they will be exhausted even before they begin to act. This emphasizes again the need to prepare material of sufficient variety to allow for variety in your delivery. It means that some points you discuss naturally call for more enthusiastic delivery than others, and they should be skillfully interwoven throughout your talk.
7 Main points particularly should be presented enthusiastically. There must be peaks in your talk, climaxes to which you build. Since these are high points of your talk, they will usually be the points designed to motivate your audience, to drive home the application of your argumentation, your reasons or your counsel. Having convinced your audience, you now need to stimulate them, to demonstrate the benefits of your conclusions, the joys and privileges that pursuing these convictions will bring them. This calls for enthusiastic delivery.
8 In spite of this, though, you should never lapse into indifference in your presentation at other times. You should never lose your strong feeling on behalf of your subject or manifest any loss of interest. Picture in your mind a deer grazing quietly in a little clearing. Though relaxed in appearance, there is latent power in his slender legs that can send him bounding away in tremendous leaps at the least hint of danger. He is at ease but constantly alert. So you can be, even when not speaking with all your enthusiasm.
9 What does this all mean then? That animated delivery is never forced. There should be a reason for it and your material must provide you with that reason. Your counselor will be concerned as to whether your enthusiasm was appropriate for your material. Was it too much, too little or out of place? Of course, he will take into account your own individual personality, but he will encourage you if you are shy and reserved and caution you if you seem overly excited about everything you say. So fit your enthusiasm to your material and vary your material so that your enthusiastic delivery will be balanced throughout.
10-12. What is meant by warmth and feeling?
10 Enthusiasm is closely related to warmth and feeling. However, their expressions are prompted by different emotions and produce different results in your audience. As a speaker, you are usually enthusiastic because of your material, but you are warm when you think of your audience with the desire to help them. “Warmth, feeling,” listed on the Speech Counsel slip, deserves thoughtful attention.
11 If you manifest warmth and feeling, your audience will sense that you are a person who shows love, kindness and tender compassion. They will be drawn to you as to a fire on a cold night. A spirited delivery is stimulating, but tender feeling is also needed. It is not always enough to persuade the mind; you must move the heart.
12 For example, would it be fitting to read from Galatians 5:22, 23 concerning love, long-suffering, kindness and mildness without some reflection of those qualities in your own manner? Note, too, the tender feeling expressed in Paul’s words at 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 8. These are expressions that call for warmth and feeling. How should it be shown?
13, 14. How can warmth be shown in facial expressions?
13 Warmth evident in facial expression. If you have a warm feeling toward your audience, it should show in your face. If it does not, your audience may not be convinced that you are sincerely warm toward them. But it must be genuine. It cannot be put on like a mask. Neither should warmth and feeling be confused with sentimentality and emotionalism. A kind facial expression will demonstrate genuineness and sincerity.
14 For the most part you will talk to friendly audiences. Therefore, if you really look at your audience you will feel warm toward them. You will feel relaxed and friendly. Pick out someone in the audience with a particularly friendly face. Talk to that individual personally for a few moments. Select another and talk to that one. Not only will this give you good audience contact, but you will find yourself being drawn to the audience, and your warm facial expression in response will draw your audience to you.
15-19. Point out what will cause warmth and feeling to be manifest in a speaker’s voice.
15 Warmth and feeling evident in tone of voice. It has been well established that even animals can interpret your emotions to some extent by the tone of your voice. How much more, then, will an audience respond to a voice that expresses warmth and feeling by its very tone.
16 If you really feel detached from your audience, if you are thinking more of the words you are saying than of how your audience is going to respond to them, it will be difficult to hide it from an audience that is alert. But if your interest is centered sincerely in those to whom you are speaking and you have an earnest desire to convey your thoughts to them so that they will think as you do, your feeling will be reflected in every inflection of your voice.
17 Obviously, though, this must be a sincere interest. Genuine warmth can no more be simulated than can enthusiasm. Never should a speaker give an impression of hypocritical sweetness. Neither should warmth and feeling be confused with sentimentality or the assumed, quavering voice of the cheap emotionalist.
18 If you have a hard, coarse voice, it will be difficult to manifest warmth in your expression. You should endeavor conscientiously and diligently to overcome any such problem. It is a matter of voice quality and will require time, but proper attention and effort can do much to improve the warmth of your voice.
19 One thing that might help you from a purely mechanical standpoint is to remember that short, clipped vowels make speech hard. Learn to draw out the vowels. This will soften them and automatically make your speech warmer in tonal expression.
20, 21. In what way does material in a talk affect warmth and feeling in the delivery?
20 Warmth and feeling appropriate to material. As in the case of enthusiasm, the warmth and feeling you put into your expression depend in a large measure on what you are saying. An example of this is the account of Jesus’ condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees at Matthew 23. We cannot imagine him expressing these scathing words of denunciation in a dull and lifeless way. But in the midst of this expression of indignation and wrath there is a phrase full of warmth and tender feeling, expressing Jesus’ compassion with the words: “—how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it.” Here tender feeling is obviously indicated, but the next statement: “Look! Your house is abandoned to you,” does not carry this same emotion. The tone is one of rejection, disgust.
21 Where, then, would warmth and feeling be appropriate? Most of the things you would say in the field ministry or in a student talk would lend themselves to this expression but particularly when you are reasoning, encouraging, exhorting, sympathizing, and so forth. In remembering to be warm, do not forget to be enthusiastic when appropriate. Be balanced in all things, but give the fullest possible expression to everything you say.