What Ted Williams taught me about Speaking

When I was 14 years old, I discovered the greatness of Ted Williams. Some called him ‘Teddy Ballgame’ and others called him ‘The Splendid Splinter’. Regardless of his nicknames, he may be the best hitter to have ever lived.

If you’re still in the dark about what sport he played, he played baseball for the Boston Red Sox. He hit .344 over his career with 521 home runs and he was the last Major Leaguer to hit over .400, he hit .406 in 1941. And, he did all that, even though he missed 5 years of his prime to serve the United States in the Marines Corps in World War II and the Korean War.

So, what does Ted Williams have to do about speaking?

A writer once asked Ted Williams what it was like having an amazing God-given talent. Ted responded by saying…”If having a God-given talent means I practice swinging 1000 times a day, then I guess it’s an God-given talent.”

A huge speaking misconception.

So many speakers believe they could never be truly great because they don’t have a “God given talent.” Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some speakers who are just at a different level than the rest of the world. Speakers like…Tony RobbinsJohn OrtbergKen Davis, and Rob Bell. But, I know in my life, the more I practice, the better I become. I don’t know if practice ever makes perfect, but practicing does help me improve. It builds my confidence.

I really do believe that we can be better speakers if we practice. That’s not to say that we don’t bathe our messages in prayer and rely on God’s power and step out of the way. But, He does want us to be prepared and I think that involves practice. 

What’s your 1000 swings?

Here are some of my practice swings…

1. Reading. Simple, yet something we have to do as speakers. I’ve heard it said that Leaders are Readers, well, I believe that Speakers are Readers. My goal is to read something that will help me with my speaking skills at least once a week.

2. Watching. I’m always trying to watch and or listen to other speakers. I try to listen to 2-3 podcast’s a week. Sometimes I get more in, sometimes I don’t. But, it’s amazing how much it feeds my own soul and at the same time teaches me so much about being a better speaker.

3. Driving. I use a lot of my drive times to think through my upcoming messages. I also use a lot of my drive times to call a few trusted friends who I run ideas by and they give me incredible advice.

How else do you practice?

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