ENTHUSIASM helps give life to a talk. While it is important to have informative material, it is a lively, enthusiastic delivery that will help capture the attention of an audience. Regardless of your cultural background or personality, you can cultivate enthusiasm.
Speak With Feeling. When speaking to a woman of Samaria, Jesus said that those who worship Jehovah must do so “with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Their worship must be motivated by appreciative hearts and be in harmony with the truth found in God’s Word. When a person has that depth of appreciation, it will be reflected in the way he speaks. He will be eager to talk to others about Jehovah’s loving provisions. His facial expressions, his gestures, and his voice will reflect the way he really feels.
Why is it, then, that a speaker who loves Jehovah and who believes what he is saying may lack enthusiasm when speaking? It is not enough for him to prepare what he is going to say. He must live his subject, be emotionally involved in it. Suppose that he is assigned to speak about the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When the speaker delivers his talk, his thoughts must be filled, not merely with details, but with appreciation for what Jesus’ sacrifice means both to the speaker himself and to his audience. He needs to recall his feelings of gratitude to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus for this marvelous provision. He needs to think of the grand prospect of life that it opens up for mankind—eternal happiness in perfect health in a restored earthly paradise! Thus he needs to get his heart involved.
Concerning the scribe Ezra, a teacher in Israel, the Bible says that he “prepared his heart to consult the law of Jehovah and to do it and to teach in Israel.” (Ezra 7:10) If we do likewise—preparing not only information but also our hearts—we will speak from the heart. Such heartfelt expression of the truth can do much to help those to whom we speak develop a real love for the truth.
Think About Your Audience. Another important factor in manifesting enthusiasm is having the conviction that your audience needs to hear what you have to say. This means that when preparing your presentation, you should not only gather worthwhile material but also pray to Jehovah for his guidance in using it to benefit those to whom you are going to speak. (Ps. 32:8; Matt. 7:7, 8) Analyze why your audience needs to hear the information, how it will benefit them, and how you can present it in such a way that they will appreciate its value.
Work on your material until you have something that you feel excited about. It need not be new, but your approach to the subject can be fresh. If you prepare something that will truly help your audience to strengthen their relationship with Jehovah, to appreciate his provisions, to cope successfully with the pressures of life in this old system, or to be effective in their ministry, then you have every reason to be enthusiastic about your talk.
What if your assignment is to read publicly? In order to do that enthusiastically, more is required than being able to say the words correctly and to group them together properly. Study the material. If you are going to read a portion of the Bible, do some research on it. Be sure that you understand its basic meaning. Consider how it is beneficial to you and to your audience, and read with a desire to convey that to those listening to you.
Are you preparing for the field ministry? Review your subject for discussion and the scriptures that you plan to use. Consider, too, what is on the minds of the people. What has been in the news? What problems do they encounter? When you are equipped to show people that God’s Word contains the solutions to the very problems that concern them, you feel an eagerness to do so, and enthusiasm comes naturally.
Show Enthusiasm by Animated Delivery. Enthusiasm is most clearly manifested by animation in your delivery. This should be evident in your facial expression. You must sound convinced, not dogmatic.
Balance is needed. Some may be inclined to get excited about everything. They may need to be helped to realize that when a person becomes bombastic or overly emotional, his audience will be thinking about him rather than about the message. On the other hand, those who are shy need encouragement to be more expressive.
Enthusiasm is contagious. If you have good audience contact and are enthusiastic about your talk, your audience will pick up that enthusiasm. Apollos showed animation in his speaking, and he was described as an eloquent speaker. If you are aglow with God’s spirit, your animated delivery will move those who listen to you to action.—Acts 18:24, 25; Rom. 12:11.
Enthusiasm Appropriate to Material. Take care not to carry your enthusiasm on such a high plane throughout your entire talk that your audience becomes exhausted. Any exhortation that you give to act on what is being discussed will fall on weary ears. This emphasizes the need to prepare material that allows for variety in your delivery. Try not to lapse into a style that reflects indifference. If you choose your material carefully, you will be keenly interested in it. But some points naturally call for more enthusiasm in delivery than others, and these should be skillfully interwoven throughout your talk.
Main points particularly should be presented enthusiastically. Your talk must have peaks, climaxes to which you build. Since these are the high points of your talk, they will usually be the points designed to motivate your audience. Having convinced your audience, you need to stimulate them, to show them the benefits of applying what has been discussed. Your enthusiasm will help you reach the hearts of your listeners. Animated delivery should never be forced. There should be a reason for it, and your material will provide you with that reason.