IVP - Andy Unedited - Public Speaking Archives

August 29, 2013

Clinching the Content

"Audiences don't always hear so good, but they see real well."

In college I was singing with the University of Denver Chorale when I first heard this. We were backing up the Denver Symphony in a performance of Verdi's Requiem. During one rehearsal Brian Priestman, the music director, was talking to those of us in the chorus about when we should sit and stand at different points in the piece. We even rehearsed our movements. Priestman said they were an important part of the total experience; how we moved could add drama or emphasis to the end or beginning of a section. "You see," he explained with a wry smile, "audiences don't always hear so good, but they see real well."

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 11:15 AM

February 28, 2012

Pastor Beware (and Writer Too)

I call them preacher stories--those tales that pass from church to church, book to book, blog to blog. Sometimes corny, sometimes profound, they can inspire, accuse, challenge, amuse, surprise or inform.

I recently came across the same story three times, and it made me wonder.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:41 AM | Comments (10) are closed

October 13, 2011

The Curse of Knowledge

Authors and editors know too much. And that goes for speakers, teachers and preachers too. They know too much about the subjects they are presenting. Why is that a bad thing? It's what Chip and Dan Heath, in Made to Stick, call the Curse of Knowledge.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:59 AM | Comments (1) are closed

April 19, 2011

Dramatic Non-Fiction

Even if you have the most profound truths, you can still be profoundly boring. I was once on the pastoral search committee for our church and heard a sermon from a prospective candidate who delivered fourteen points. Yes, count ‘em, fourteen points! There has to be a better way, and there is.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:45 AM | Comments (8) are closed

February 8, 2011

Please Don't Use Google!

Do you know how important artichokes are? A Google search generated over 9.8 million hits! Astonishing. But that is nothing compared to crochet, which gives over 20.3 million results. So if you are going to crochet an artichoke, well, you are clearly in the forefront of a massive cultural phenomenon!

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:34 AM

January 20, 2011

JFK's Speech: Still a Model Fifty Years Later

On January 20, 1961, John Kennedy gave what some consider to be the greatest presidential inaugural speech of the twentieth century. What made it so effective rhetorically? Max Atkinson identifies several key techniques:

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:46 AM

September 29, 2010

Please Don't Use the Dictionary!

It’s one of the most common and one of the dullest tools that writers or speakers pull out of their toolboxes—quoting a dictionary definition when trying to make a point. It happens every day whether it’s a blogger, a teacher, a preacher or a speaker. Webster gets quoted to define some painfully ordinary word like professional or accidental or addiction. Why is this such a problem?

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:31 AM | Comments (5) are closed

July 22, 2010

Speaking of Nightmares

Anxiety dreams are common. It's the day of finals and you can't find the classroom--in fact, you have neglected to attend class all semester. Or it's the big game and the coach sends you in as the point guard--only you are short and a really bad basketball player who hasn't practiced with the team all season. Or you are suddenly called on to give a speech with a few only a minutes' notice.

Except that the last one wasn't a dream for me. It really happened once.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:36 AM | Comments (2) are closed

February 17, 2009

Walking Out on the Speaker

I was at a conference last week with many excellent, well-known speakers. They made presentations at plenary sessions of over a thousand and at seminars with fifty to hundred people. Regardless of the notoriety, prestige or quality of the speaker, or the intimacy of the group, those who attended felt free to walk in and out of the sessions at will--perhaps several times in a session for a single individual.

This is not a new, of course. I've noticed it for some time in a wide variety of settings. Thirty years ago, however, it was not so.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 7:47 AM | Comments (7) are closed

December 2, 2008

Giving Voice

I once emceed at a conference and was responsible for handling the question and answer session after a major talk. There were about three hundred in attendance and dozens wanted to ask questions, but we only had fifteen minutes available in the schedule. I had the roving mike and raced around the room trying to get as many questions as possible but only managed about five.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:29 AM | Comments (1) are closed

October 13, 2008

Life as a Movie Star

Fame is a difficult burden to bear. I know.

Several times I've been asked to be interviewed for videos InterVarsity Press has done to highlight new books. Most recently, I have a starring role for the piece on John Stott's fiftieth anniversary edition of Basic Christianity.

It had over 250 views on youtube.com in its first month, until I told my extended family about it and it rocketed up to over 260. So you can see the kind of load I am under.

By comparison JibJab's "Time for Some Campaignin'" has over 1,250,000 views in two months. Now you know why the paparazzi are after me the way they are.

After we showed the Stott video at an all-office meeting, exactly zero people came up to me and told me what a great job I did. And zero told me I had room for improvement. How am I to cope with such an overwhelming response?

I also make a cameo appearance in the video Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. That one isn't even on youtube. A good thing too! Who knows what invasions of privacy I might suffer if it were!

Fame, however, is fleeting. I am prepared to deal with that too.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:51 AM | Comments (2) are closed

March 10, 2008

How Not to Use Powerpoint

OK. Show of hands: How many of you have witnessed a bad Powerpoint presentation? Let's see, looks like it's just about everyone out there who is vertical and above ground.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:01 AM | Comments (1) are closed

February 21, 2008

The Bible Is Serious about Humor

We publish a lot of Bible reference books for average people, students, scholars and pastors. As a consumer of Bible reference books, I find that I most often make use of them when I have to give a talk or a sermon. (Now that's a felt need!) Apparently pastors feel the same way.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:32 AM | Comments (1) are closed

January 31, 2008

Humor Is Serious Business

Remember the running gag in Finding Nemo when Marlin the clown fish (whom others keep thinking will be funny) painfully tries to tell a joke? "Okay, a mollusk walks up to this sea cucumber, well he doesn't actually walk, he's just there, and he turns to the sea cucumber, and. . . Well, wait, there's a mollusk and a sea cucumber and . . . Normally, they don't talk, sea cucumbers, but in a joke everyone talks. So the sea mollusk says to the cucumber. . ."

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:41 AM | Comments (6) are closed

January 24, 2008

Stories Are the Point

Bob Harvey, my former pastor, told the congregation in a sermon about the time he was on vacation at a lake, sitting in a giant inner tube when suddenly and unexpectedly he lost his balance and found himself upside down in the water, still stuck in the tube. As a man with a few extra pounds on his frame, he was unable to get out and right himself. While he was underwater trying to figure out what to do, he told us, he thought, You know, this will make a good sermon illustration.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:15 AM

January 16, 2008

Public Speaking Isn't Life or Death--It's Much Worse Than That

Once I was invited to be part of a panel discussion during a conference. The panel went well, and I was ready to go back to the office to finish up some work I had there. As the moderator of the conference closed the panel he said to the group. “We’ll take a fifteen minute break now, and then for the next hour Andy Le Peau will be speaking to us.”

My worst speaking nightmare had come true.

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Posted by Andy Le Peau at 8:43 AM | Comments (4) are closed

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Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.