An Essential Guide to Public Speaking

Serving Your Audience with Faith, Skill, and Virtue

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"For a long time I have been looking for a short, inspiring book that not only talks about the skills of effective speaking but also revives the art of public speaking as a virtuous practice. An Essential Guide to Public Speaking does just that."--Mary Albert Darling, Spring Arbor University

As followers of the Word in the information/media age, all Christian students need education in becoming more effective communicators who also embody biblical values. Unfortunately, apart from homiletics texts, there is little available on the art and craft of public speaking from a Christian perspective. And many public speaking textbooks are overly technical for the average college student. An Essential Guide to Public Speaking fills this gap, providing a brief and accessible yet content-rich textbook for use in public speaking courses at Christian colleges and universities.

Quentin Schultze calls readers to become servant speakers who serve audiences as neighbors, embody Christian virtues, and present technically well-crafted speeches. Topics covered in the book include the biblical value of effective communication, overcoming challenges to speaking, the importance of listening and research, speaking truthfully, and discourse in the public arena. The book is also filled with servant speaking tips and includes several helpful and practical appendices. Students who practice the guidelines in this book will be equipped with both helpful skills and an understanding of a Christian ethos on public speaking. While designed primarily for college courses, this book is also suitable as an ancillary text for seminary preaching courses.   


"There is a lot more to speaking than getting the right words and pronouncing them correctly. Who we are and the way we speak make all the difference. Every time we open our mouths, Christian truth and community are on the line. Quentin Schultze is a skillful guide and wise instructor as he helps us to acquire a voice that speaks in consonance with the God who speaks--to speak in such a way that truth is told and community formed."--Eugene H. Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College; translator of The Message

"Quentin Schultze has done it again! This special book, written by one of the most original and profound authors I know, takes a fresh look at public speaking as 'servant speaking.' My students love his call for communication that builds meaningful relationships rather than just performances or arguments. His retelling of Augustine's own transformation into a servant speaker is beautifully told and highly relevant for today. A must-read for everyone who wants to use speech to serve rather than to manipulate audiences."--Kathleen O. Sindorf, professor of communication and media studies, Cornerstone University

"Schultze's highly recommended book offers a practical road map for becoming a 'servant speaker' who serves the audience as a 'neighbor.' By reclaiming Augustine's vision, An Essential Guide to Public Speaking provides an important antidote to today's self-serving rhetoric in public speeches and the media."--Linda S. Welker, communication consultant; professor, Northern Kentucky University

"For a long time I have been looking for a short, inspiring book that not only talks about the skills of effective speaking but also revives the art of public speaking as a virtuous practice. An Essential Guide to Public Speaking does just that. It calls us to reclaim Augustine's vision of ethical, effective speechmaking and shows us how to do this in today's diverse world."--Mary Albert Darling, professor of communication, Spring Arbor University

"Schultze's book is grounded in ancient and modern insights into what communication can be when we develop character and community alongside skill. In a concise, accessible style, he introduces the fundamentals of public communication as part of a larger, more important calling to serve others with our lives."--Nathan Baxter, professor of communications, Gordon College

"Today's emphasis on skill over virtue is ruining public discourse. Schultze has come to our aid, succinctly combining the richness of rhetorical theory with a Christian perspective on stewardly discourse, making the classical ideals of wisdom and eloquence accessible to adults of all ages."--Nneka Ofulue, professor of communication studies, Eastern University

"This faith-based guide is a valiant effort to focus speechwriters and public speakers on quality and ethics. Quentin Schultze reminds us that the biblical context--speech as a gift and a responsibility for the service of our neighbors--has nearly vanished and calls us to refocus. An Essential Guide to Public Speaking helps us to do just that."--Rich DeVos, cofounder and past president, Amway Corp. (now Alticor Inc.); owner and chairman, NBA Orlando Magic

The Author

  1. Quentin J. Schultze
    © Corriveau Photography

    Quentin J. Schultze

    Quentin J. Schultze (PhD, University of Illinois) is a speaker, mentor, consultant, and professor of communication emeritus at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His many books include Communicate Like a True Leader and An Essential...

    Continue reading about Quentin J. Schultze


"A useful guide to actually crafting a speech, using technology and successful speaking techniques. Not only will readers come to deeper understanding of their need to speak publicly (to neighbors, in public prayer, defending moral issues, in community), they will learn how to do it."--Ann Byle, Grand Rapids Press

"In his helpful and lively An Essential Guide to Public Speaking . . . popular author Quentin Schultze . . . offers a wealth of advice on ways that Christians can reclaim public speaking as a noble practice. . . . Schultze skillfully weaves biblical examples of servant speeches into his chapters on public speaking, and he warns against unkind speech such as ridicule and gossip."--Henry L. Carrigan Jr., ForeWord

"JEHS has never reviewed a public speaking textbook, but this one deserves attention for three reasons: public speaking and preaching have much in common, many of our readers teach public speaking and/or preaching, and this book's stance is unique and refreshing. . . . In 111 easy-to-read pages, Schultze has given a gift to students, preachers, and any who seek to serve audiences through the spoken word. Preachers will benefit by spending a couple of hours reading this book because they will be reminded of basic skills in oral communication, and they will be reminded that sermons are a means of serving God and the audience."--Jeffrey Arthurs, Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society

"By focusing on uncompromising areas of public speaking such as: responsibility, addressing challenges, listening, accountability, virtue and truth, Schultze gives an excellent guide on how to be better public speakers. . . . With his many biblical references, he gives compelling examples of speeches in which the speaker uses his or her gift to persuade others towards Christ. Truly, he puts public speaking into an entirely different realm: it is not just a task, but also a duty. If you are a pastor, a worship leader, a business patron, or just speaking to anyone who will listen, this book offers a wonderful guide on how to do it in the most God-honoring way. In addition, it includes 'speaker tips' as well as outlines for a successful speech, research and checklists. If you are a beginner or a long-time speaking veteran, this book is an excellent resource to help you experience public speaking as less of a job, and more of a calling."--Worship Leader

"Quentin Schultze is a gifted teacher of communication skills, and here he has provided a brief but valuable introduction to public speaking, written from a Christian perspective. The author provides a variety of helpful tips about public speaking. Although the book is aimed at a classroom audience, any younger preacher who has not taken such a class would benefit from reading this text. The book also lends itself to use in sponsoring a Christian public speaking class in local churches."--Michael Duduit, Preaching

"[Schultze] brings to bear in a very clear and uncomplicated way his knowledge of ancient rhetoric as well as contemporary communication skills. He draws often on the insights of Augustine in particular. . . . These insights from Augustine are often most helpful. A particular strength of Schultze's approach is his casting of public speech within the context of the Christian's duty to love and serve others. . . . His advice is sane and pertinent. As a tool for helping everyday Christians think through what it means to speak well in public, this is a very readable and helpful introduction. Its usefulness is enhanced by a supporting website that gives resources for training people in public speech."--M. Capill, Vox Reformata