Strategies for Public Speaking

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14 May 2015
OU Synablog


Rabbi Einhorn’s SynaBlog is a new innovative blog that shares tips, tactics, strategies and best practices that enable Shul growth and promote Shul vitality.

Whether you are the President of your congregation, Chairman of the Sisterhood, or Rabbi of the Shul – odds are that a portion of your position entails public speaking. I’d like to share with you some strategies that may change the way you impact the constituency to whom you’re speaking.

1. Tempo
Be acutely aware of the tempo of your speech. Too many speakers hover on the extremes – they build to a crescendo at the end of every sentence thus rendering nothing exciting anymore, or alternatively, they keep everything in a monotonous tempo instantaneously putting everybody to sleep. Map out your tempo. Think about when / where you want to speed up your remarks. Think about when/ where you want to build to a crescendo or come closer to your audience. It should all be designed with a purpose in mind.

2. The Right Kind of Practice
When we review our speeches or remarks we normally do it while sitting down and reading over and over our words. But there’s so much more to practice. How come we never review our body language and positioning? That needs just as much thought, if not more, than our words.

3. Emotion!
Every speech, no matter whether it’s informative or persuasive should pack some emotional punch. Being emotive enables your word to stick. Devarim ha’yotzim min halev nichnasim el ha’lev – if it comes from the heart it can enter the heart.

4. Know your Audience
Too many of our talks focus on what we want to say and not enough on what the crowd needs to hear. What I mean by need – even announcements at the end of davening should focus on information that the congregation would find helpful. To be even more effective I would ask myself the following question before any talk: How will I make their life better before I’m done with my speech?

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Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn is a Musmach of Yeshiva University. He has served as the founder of WINGS a Synagogue Consulting group. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Rabbi Einhorn was the Rabbi of Manhattan’s West Side Institutional Synagogue where he helped grow the membership by 70% over 4 years. Currently, he is the Rav and Dean of Yeshivat Yavneh.