when people do not let you talk, your very presence will give a wit-
ness. You will have succeeded because you let Jehovah use you to ac-
complish his will.On those occasions when you dohaveopportunity
to talk, what will characterize your speech? If you learn to focus your
thoughts on the needs of others, your speech will be appealing and
When giving a witness, if you act and speak as you do every day,
this will put your listeners at ease. They may even be more receptive
to the Scriptural thoughts that you want to share with them. Rather
thangiving them aformaldiscourse,conversewith them.
Be friendly. Show an interest in them, and welcome their
comments. Of course, where the language or local culture
calls for certain protocols to show respect when speaking
to strangers, you would wanttoobservethese. Butyoucan
always be ready with arelaxed smile.
On thePlatform.Whenyou speaktoagroup,anatural,
conversational style of delivery is usually best.Of course,
when the audience is large, you need greater voice pro-
jection. If you try to memorize your talk or if your notes
aretoo detailed,you areprobably overly concerned about
wording things precisely. Appropriate wording is impor-
tant, but when it is given too much attention, delivery
becomes stiﬀ and formal. Naturalness is lost. Your ideas
should becarefully thoughtoutin advance,butgive most
of your attention to the ideas, not the exact wording.
The same is true when you are being interviewed at a
meeting. Be well prepared, but do not read or memorize
your answers. Deliver them with natural modulation so
thatyour comments will have anappealing spontaneity.
Even desirable speech qualities taken to an extreme
may strike anaudienceas being unnatural. For example, you should
speak distinctly and use proper pronunciation but not to the ex-
tent that your speech sounds stiﬀ or artiﬁcial. Emphatic or descrip-
tivegestures,whendonewell,canenlivenyour talk,butgestures that
are stiﬀ or grandiose will detract from what you are saying. Use am-
ple volume,buttry notto beexcessively loud. Itis good occasionally
to put ﬁre intoyour delivery,butyou should avoid being bombastic.
Modulation,enthusiasm, and feeling should allbeused ina manner
HOW TO DO IT
qualities inamanner that
Preparewell for publicread-
that does not draw attention to yourself or make your audience feel
Some people naturally have a precise way of expressing them-
selves, even when they are not giving a talk. Others are more collo-
quial in their speech. The important thing is to speakwell every day
and to conduct yourself with Christian dignity. Then when on the
platform, you will more readily speak and act with appealing natu-
When Reading Publicly. Naturalness in public reading requires
eﬀort. To achieve it, identify the principal ideas in the materi-
al that you are going to read, and observe how these are developed.
Have these clearly in mind; otherwise, you will simply be reading
words. Check the pronunciation of unfamiliar words. Practice read-
ing aloud so as to get proper inﬂection and to group the words to-
gether in a way that conveys thoughts clearly. Do it again and again
until your reading is ﬂuent. Get to know the material well enough
that when you read it aloud, your reading sounds like spirited con-
versation. Thatis naturalness.
Of course, mostofour public reading is from our Bible-based pub-
lications. Apart from reading assignments in the Theocratic Minis-
try School, we read scriptures in the ﬁeld ministry and when giving
talks from the platform.Brothers areassigned to read material being
considered at the Watchtower Study and at the Congregation Book
Study. Some qualiﬁed brothers receive assignments to read manu-
scripts before convention audiences. Whether you read the Bible or
other materials, read portions that embody quotations in away that
makes the material live. If a number of characters are quoted, alter
your voice somewhat for each one. A word of caution: Do not be
overly dramatic,butdo put life into the reading ina natural way.
Reading that is natural is conversational. It does not sound artiﬁ-
cial but has conviction.
(1) Read Malachi 1:2-14 silently, and take note of those who are speaking.
Now read it aloud with appropriate expressiveness. (2) On three separate
occasions before sharing in the ﬁeld ministry, read the ﬁrst two paragraphs
of this lesson as well as the material under the subheading “In the Field
Ministry,” on page 128. Make an eﬀort to apply the counsel.
YOUR personal appearancesays much about you.WhileJehovah sees
whattheheart is,humans generally drawconclusions from “what ap-
pears to the eyes.” (1 Sam. 16:7) When you are clean and well-
groomed, others will likely conclude that you have self-respect, and
they will be more inclined to listen to you. Your being appropriately
dressed will also reﬂect well on the organization that you
represent and on your listeners’ view of the God you wor-
Guidelines to Apply. The Bible does not set out many
rules about personal appearance. But it does provide bal-
anced principles that can help us make sound decisions.
Fundamental to all of these is the fact that we “do all
things for God’s glory.” (1 Cor. 10:31) What principles
come into play relativeto our personal appearance?
First, theBible encourages ustobe clean, both in our body andin our
clothing. In his Law to ancient Israel, Jehovah set out requirements
regarding cleanliness. For example, when the priests were on duty,
they were to bathe and wash their garments at designated times.
(Lev.16:4, 24, 26, 28) Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, but
principles embodied in it are still valid. (John 13:10; Rev.19:8) Espe-
cially when weare going to aplaceofworship or sharing in the ﬁeld
ministry, our body, our breath, and our clothing should be clean so
thatothers do not ﬁnd us oﬀensive.Those who givetalks or share in
demonstrations in frontof the congregation should set a ﬁne exam-
pleinthis regard.Givingattentiontoour personal appearanceshows
respect for Jehovah and for his organization.
Second, the Bible exhorts us to cultivate modesty and soundness of
mind. The apostle Paul urged Christian women to “adorn them-
selves . . . with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of
hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive garb, but in the
way that beﬁts womenprofessing to reverence God.” (1 Tim.2:9,10)
GOOD PERSONAL APPEARANCE
What doyou need to do?
Be neat, clean, and modest in your clothing. Hair should be
neatly combed. Posture should convey an attentive attitude.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Modesty and soundness of mind are also importantin the dress and
grooming of men.
Aperson who is modest is concerned about not needlessly oﬀend-
ing others and not drawing undue attention to himself. Soundness
of mind results in discretion,or good judgment. Theperson who dis-
plays these qualities has balance that results from respect for godly
standards.Manifesting thesequalitiesdoes notruleoutdressing inan
attractive manner but helps us to be sensible in our appearance and
to avoidextravagant styles ofdress and grooming. (1 John
2:16) We want to apply these principles whether we are
at a place of worship, sharing in the ﬁeld ministry, or en-
gaging in other activities. Even our casual dress should re-
ﬂect modesty and soundness ofmind.Atschool or on our
secular job,therewill beopportunities to do informal wit-
nessing. While we may not be dressed in the same man-
ner as when attending meetings, conventions, and assem-
blies, our dress should still be neat, clean, and modest.
Of course, we do not all dress alike. We are not expect-
ed to. People have diﬀerent tastes, and this is quite prop-
er. ButBibleguidelines should always beapplied.
The apostle Peter showed that even more important
than hairstyles and outer garments is apparel associated
with “the secretperson of the heart.”(1Pet. 3:3,4) When
our hearts are ﬁlled with love, joy, peace, kindness, and
faiththatis solidly based,thesewill becometo us spiritual garments
that truly honor God.
Third, the Bible urges us to consider whether our appearance is
well arranged. At 1 Timothy 2:9, mention is made of “well-arranged
dress.” While the apostle Paul was referring to the attire of women,
the same principle applies to men. Something that is well arranged
is neatand orderly.Whether we have muchmaterially or not,wecan
have a neat appearance.
One of the ﬁrst aspects of personal appearance that is noticed by
others is our hair. It ought to be neat, or well arranged. Both local
custom and hereditary factors have a bearing on how people wear
theirhair. At1 Corinthians 11:14,15, we ﬁnd counsel from the apos-
tle Paul on hairstyles, which evidently took into consideration both
Good Personal Appearance
of these factors. However, when a person’s hairstyleconveys the im-
pression that heor she is trying to looklike aperson of the opposite
sex, this is in conﬂict with Bible principles.—Deut.22:5.
For men, a neat personal appearance may include being clean-
shaven.Inareas wheremustaches arewidely viewed as digniﬁed,any
who wear these should keep them neatly trimmed.
Fourth, our appearance should not reﬂect love of the world and
its ways. The apostle John cautioned: “Do not be loving either the
world or the things in the world.” (1 John 2:15-17) Many sinful de-
sires characterize this world. Among these John mentions the de-
sire of the sinful ﬂesh and the showy display of one’s possessions.
The Scriptures also draw attention to the spirit of rebellion, or dis-
obedience to authority. (Prov. 17:11; Eph. 2:2) These desires and at-
titudes are often manifest in the way that people dress and groom
themselves. As a result, their appearance may beimmodest, sensual,
gaudy, unkempt, careless, or sloppy.As Jehovah’s servants, we avoid
styles that reﬂect such unchristianways.
Rather than imitate the world, how much better to allow the ﬁne
exampleofspiritually mature men and women in the Christiancon-
gregation to inﬂuence your dress and grooming! Young men who
hope to be public speakers someday can observe the attire of those
whoalready qualify to give public talks.Allcanlearn fromtheexam-
ple set by individuals who have loyally shared for many years in the
public ministry.—1 Tim.4:12; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3.
Fifth,in deciding what is appropriate, we ought to keep in mind that
“even the Christ did not please himself.” (Rom. 15:3) Jesus’ foremost
concern was the doing of God’s will. Jesus also put helping others
ahead of personal convenience. When it comes to certain styles of
dress and grooming,ifanything wouldraisea barrier betweenusand
the people where we are now serving, what should we do? Imitat-
ing the humble spirit shown by Christ can help us to decide wisely.
The apostle Paul set out the principle: “In no way are we giving any
cause for stumbling.” (2 Cor.6:3) For that reasonwe may forgo hair-
styles or items of attirethat would tend to close theminds of people
to whom wewantto witness.
Posture. Good personal appearance also involves proper posture.
Of course, we do not all carry ourselves in the same way, and we do
Good Personal Appearance
notendeavor toconformto acertainpattern.However,itis notewor-
thy that according to Bible usage, standing erect conveys a sense of
personal dignity and optimism. (Lev. 26:13; Luke 21:28) Neverthe-
less,becauseofworking for years in astooped position or because of
advancing years or physical weakness, a brother or a sister may not
be able to stand straight or may need to lean against something for
support. But for those who are able to do so, standing reasonably
erect when speaking to others is recommended so as not to convey
an indiﬀerent or apologetic attitude. Likewise, while it is not wrong
for a speaker occasionally to rest his hands on the speaker’s stand, a
more positive impression is generally conveyed to the audience if he
does not lean on the stand.
Neat Equipment. Not only should our personal appearance be
clean and well arranged but our equipment for use in the ministry
should also be cleanand neat.
Consider your Bible.It is not possible for all of us to obtain a new
Bible when ours has become worn. Nevertheless, no matter how
long we have had our Bible, it should give evidence that it has been
There are, of course, many ways to pack a witnessing case, but it
should be neat. Have you ever seen papers fall out of a Bible when a
publisherwaspreparing toreadascriptureto thehouseholder or per-
haps when abrother was giving a talktothe congregation? You were
distracted,wereyou not? Ifpapers kept in a Bible are a source of dis-
traction,itmaybethatyour keeping theminanother placewould be
consistent with having your equipment well arranged. Realize, too,
that placing the Bible or other religious publications on the ﬂoor is
viewed as very disrespectful in some cultures.
Good personal appearance should beimportantto us.It also inﬂu-
ences how others view us. But above all, we give it careful attention
because we desire to “adorn the teaching of our Savior, God, in all
Once aday for afull week, regardless of what activity youplan, check your-
self against the list “Check Your Appearance,” on page 132.
Good Personal Appearance
IT IS not unusual for a speaker to feel nervous when he gets up to
speak, especially ifhedoes notgivetalks frequently.A publisher may
feel somewhat nervous when he makes the ﬁrst few calls of the day
in the ﬁeld ministry. When commissioned to be aprophet, Jeremiah
responded: “Here I actually do not know how to speak, for I am but
aboy.” (Jer. 1:5, 6) Jehovah helped Jeremiah, and he will
help you too. In time,you can develop poise.
A poised speaker is one who is composed. This com-
posure is evident in his physical bearing. His posture
is natural and appropriate to the occasion. Movement of
his hands is meaningful. His voice is expressive and con-
Even though you may feel that this description of a
poised person does not ﬁt you, you can improve. How? Let us con-
sider why a speaker feels nervous and lacks poise. The cause may be
When you are faced with a challenge and want to do well but are
not sure that you will, you feel anxiety. As a result, the brain signals
the body to produce more adrenaline.The resulting surge may cause
amore rapid heartbeat, a change in breathing rate, increased perspi-
ration,or even shakiness in the hands and knees as well as trembling
ofthevoice.Yourbody is endeavoring tohelp you deal withyoursitu-
ation by increasing your energy level.Thechallenge is to channel the
surge ofenergy intoconstructivethinkingandenthusiastic delivery.
How to Reduce Anxiety. Remember that it is normal to feel some
anxiety. To maintain poise, however, you need to be able to reduce
thelevel ofanxiety anddeal withyour situation in a calm and digni-
ﬁed manner. How can you accomplish this?
Prepare thoroughly. Invest time in the preparation of your talk.
Make sure that you clearly understand your subject. If your talk is
What doyou need to do?
Stand, move, and speak in a calm, digniﬁed manner that
gives evidence of composure.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
to concentrateonwhat you
one in which you select the points to cover, take into account what
your audiencealreadyknowsaboutthesubjectandwhatyou hopeto
accomplish. This will help you to select material that is most worth-
while. If at ﬁrst you ﬁnd that diﬃcult, discuss the problem with an
experienced speaker. He can help you make a constructive analysis
of your material and of the audience. When you are sure that you
have material that will beneﬁt your audience and you have it clearly
in mind,your desire to share it will begin to overshadow the anxiety
that you may feel about the delivery.
Give special attention to your introduction. Know how
you are going to start. Once your talk is under way, your
nervousness will likely subside.
The same basic steps apply to preparing for the ﬁeld
ministry. Consider not only the subject that you plan to
discuss but also the type of people to whom you will be
witnessing.Planyour introduction carefully.Beneﬁtfrom
the experience of mature publishers.
You may feel that you will be more poised if you use a
manuscript when giving a talk before a group. Actually,
this may result in increased anxiety every timeyou give a
talk. It is true that some speakers use extensive notes,
while others use few. But what will change the focus of
your thinking and reduce thelevel of your anxiety is, not
the words on the paper, but the conviction in your heart
that what you haveprepared for your audience is truly worthwhile.
Practice your delivery aloud. Such practicewill give you conﬁdence
thatyou canputyourthoughts intowords.As you practice,you build
up memory patterns that can readily be activated when you give
your talk. Make your practice session realistic. Visualize your audi-
ence. Sitat atable or stand, just as you will when giving thetalk.
Pray to Jehovah for help. Will he answer such a prayer? “This is the
conﬁdence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that
weask according to his will,hehears us.” (1 John 5:14) If you desire
to honor God and tohelp peoplebeneﬁtfromhis Word, hewill sure-
ly answer your prayer.Thatassurancecando muchtostrengthenyou
to fulﬁll your assignment. Furthermore,as you cultivatethefruitage
of the spirit—love, joy, peace, mildness, and self-control—you will
HOW TO ACQUIRE POISE
“Throw your burden
vice,comment frequently at
to prevent or control these.
develop the mental attitude needed to handle situations with poise.
—Gal. 5:22, 23.
Acquire experience. The more you share in the ﬁeld service, the less
nervous you will be. The more you comment at congregation meet-
ings, the easier it will be to speak before others. As the number of
talks that you give in thecongregation increases, the degree of anxi-
ety that you feel before each talk will probably decrease.Would you
like to have more opportunities to speak? Then volunteer to substi-
tute in the school when others are not able to fulﬁll their assign-
After you havetaken the steps outlined above,you will ﬁnd it ben-
eﬁcial to examine the symptoms that point unmistakably to lack
of composure. Identifying the symptoms and learning how to cope
with these will help you speak with poise. The symptoms may be
physical or vocal.
Physical Symptoms. Your poise, or lack of it, is shown by your
physical bearing and the way thatyou use your hands.Consider ﬁrst
the hands. Hands clasped behind the back, held rigidly at the sides,
or tightly clutching the speaker’s stand; hands repeatedly inand out
ofpockets,buttoning and unbuttoning the jacket, aimlessly moving
to the cheek, the nose, the eyeglasses; hands toying with a watch, a
pencil, a ring, or notes; hand gestures that are jerky or incomplete
—all of these demonstrate a lackof poise.
Lack of conﬁdence may also be indicated by constantly shuﬄing
the feet, swaying the body from side to side, standing with posture
thatis overly rigid,slouching,frequently moistening thelips,repeat-
edly swallowing,and breathing in a rapid and shallow manner.
With conscious eﬀort these manifestations of nervousness can be
controlled. Work on just one at a time. Identify the problem, and
consider in advance what you need to do to prevent it. If you make
thateﬀort, you will give evidenceofpoiseinyour physical bearing.
Vocal Symptoms. Vocal evidences of nervousness may include
an abnormally high-pitched or trembling voice. Perhaps you re-
peatedly clear the throat or speak too rapidly. These problems and
mannerisms can be conquered by diligent eﬀort to bring the voice
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