So how do we avoid the kind of public speaking brain freezes I highlighted yesterday?
Time Magazine suggests two strategies:
Play it down
The last thing you should do is tell yourself: “This is really important.”
Instead of spurring you to new heights, it’s likely to increase anxiety and undermine your confidence. Research shows that reminding yourself how unimportant the event is in the big scheme of things is a better tactic, and psychologists have come up with a variety of ingenious ways to help us do so.
Well, this is hardly an acceptable strategy for preachers of the Gospel. Because this really is important. Nothing more important.
Next strategy please…
Remember your ancestors
Yes, apparently students who “thought and wrote about their ancestors did better on subsequent intelligence tests than members of the control group (who were asked to think instead about their most recent trip to the supermarket).”
Why should remembering our great-great-grandparents help us perform better?
Normally, our ancestors managed to overcome a multitude of personal and societal problems, such as severe illnesses, wars, loss of loved ones or severe economic declines. So, when we think about them, we are reminded that humans who are genetically similar to us can successfully overcome a multitude of problems and adversities.
Now there’s something that preachers could learn from. Next time we start sweating, choking, freezing, or sinking, let’s think back through Church History and through Biblical History to remind ourselves of the great army of preachers who have blazed the trail before us, usually in much more difficult circumstances.
Certainly a bit more inspirational than the last trip to the supermarket.