Have you ever gone to a business meeting or party only to find that once you got there you clammed up and contributed nothing? Though women do this more than men, both often fail to find the right moment or the right words to start talking. They feel frustrated at not having expressed something significant, and the group misses out on valuable comments.
If this problem inhibits either your professional or social life, now is the time to overcome it.
Moses is the best model for learning how to overcome speaking disabilities. Despite describing himself as slow of speech and tongue, he eventually teaches and judges Israel for forty years in the desert. Once he started speaking he never stopped!
Ancient Jewish wisdom records that Moses spent a full seven days at the Burning Bush arguing with God about how to launch his speaking career.
Initially, God instructs Moses to start off by talking to Pharaoh.
Come now and I’ll send you to Pharaoh
to take out my people…
Moses responds that he’d rather start off by talking to the Israelites.
…so I come to Israel and I’ll say,
‘The God of your fathers sent me to you…’
God might well have said, “Moses what ARE you talking about? I said go to Pharaoh and you are babbling about going to the Children of Israel.”
Instead, God basically says to Moses, “Okay, fine, have it your way, go to the elders of Israel…” (Exodus 3:16-18)
Again, Moses argues:
…but they will not believe me…
(The chapter breaks that printed Bibles show are not from ancient Jewish wisdom. The authentic separations can have great significance as I explain in The Gathering Storm. In our case, there is actually no conceptual break between chapters 3 and 4.)
The Almighty offers Moses an array of signs to help persuade everyone that he is indeed sent by God. (Exodus 4:2-9)
However, this unfortunately is still not enough for Moses. He explains to God how he is not an effective communicator. (Exodus 4:10)
God responds by telling Moses that He is the source of the ability to speak and also that Aaron will be sent along to help. (Exodus 4:11-16)
Moses still follows his own preferred approach and, taking Aaron, he gathers the Israelite leadership. (Exodus 4:29) Only then did they finally go and speak to Pharaoh who reacted horribly and escalated his oppression. The whole thing was a calamity. (Exodus 5:6-19)
Isn’t it amazing that Moses, God’s obedient servant, could be so insecure in his ability to speak that he simply isn’t able to follow God’s original command? My guess is that the huge number of people who list speaking in public as their greatest fear, understand completely.
Ultimately, of course, Moses grows in stature and his speech impediment disappears. But we can see that the struggle to express oneself effectively is a formidable one.
Three strategies, which we can employ in our own lives, transformed Moses into one of history’s most powerful and effective speakers.
1) Over the seven days cited above, Moses gained clarity about what his unique contribution was. This set the stage for overcoming his impediment. We all must get really clear about who we are and what our mission is.
2) Presentation matters. Prepare the necessary pyrotechnics-the equivalent of God’s signs, if you like. It’s not only what you say but how you say it.
3) Gain confidence. In Exodus 7:1 God gives Moses assurance that he will succeed. You can help yourself and others believe in you by speaking from the stomach rather than from the throat. This projects your voice loudly and effectively.
Implement these steps in your speaking and improve the quality of your life. We would be thrilled if you master these techniques along with many other powerful strategies found in the Torah. Understanding God’s word is a priceless avenue to a more successful life. We are making the Genesis Journeys Set available at a specially reduced sale price for a few more days. It will be a life-transforming investment for you and an unforgettable gift for someone you care about.