10 Simple Secrets of the World's Greatest Business Communicators

A review of a great new book by Carmine Gallo

The whole family was out of town the other night. So, I did what I nearly always do when I have some time to myself: head to the local Barnes and Noble for an evening of reading and a Cappuccino from Starbucks. Life just doesn't get any better than that. This night was no exception.

I picked up a stack of books but didn't get past the first one: Carmine Gallo's new 10 Simple Secrets of the World's Greatest Business Communicators. What a book. What a find.

If you still have not chosen a book to study with your teachers this next fall, I would recommend this one. What, your Minister of Education doesn't provide training for you? Why not volunteer to teach this book to all the teachers in your church? What? Don't have time to prepare another study? I have good news. These are teachers. You don't actually have to do all the preparation. Ask each teacher to study and prepare a discussion on one chapter. What a great book. I am not sure I can write a summary that will do it justice, but it is such a great book, I have to try to incite you to buy it, read it and study it.

One key feature is there is a web site with clips from business communicators. See http://www.carminegallo.com

10 Simple secrets of the World's Greatest Business Communicators:

Secret #1: Passion

Wesley said,  "Catch yourself on fire and people will come to watch you burn. I get a daily verse texted to me on my phone. Here was the verse from a couple of days ago:
"My heart grew hot within me,
and as I meditated, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue."
Psalm 39:3 [NIV] Show me a teacher with a hot heart and I will show you a class that is not catching up on their sleep during class.

I have heard too many tired presentations. Too many sleepy sermons. Too many lack-luster presentations. Show me some fire. Exude enthusiasm. Get fired up.

Secret #2: Inspiration

Passion has to do with what the teacher feels. Inspiration has to do with what her students feel. They feel inspired. Not just informed, inspired.

Gallo not only tells you about the importance of inspiration and tells you how to inspire, he inspires you to inspire. He has had a front row seat at some of the best (and worst) business communicators of this era. His insights into how to inspire are as inspirational as they are informative.

Secret #3: Preparation

The world's greatest communicators don't read from a script. They are so well prepared, they hardly look at their notes. They speak from their heart. They speak from the overflow of a well-prepared mind.

How different from many of the Sunday School teachers I have heard, "I didn't get as much time as I would like to prepare my lesson, so. . ." So, why didn't you? This is the Word of God! This the the Work of God. Let's take the time to do the preparation to give as inspirational and life-changing lesson as possible.

Secret #4: Start Strong

The teacher must get and keep the group's attention. A strong start and a strong finish are keys to a strong presentation. What are the first words you are going to say this Sunday? Make the strong. Perhaps a quote. Maybe a provocative statement. Maybe a statistic. What ever it is, make it an attention getter. Think it through.

Giuliani said, "Preparation is the single most important key to success, no matter what the field."

We talk a lot of the will to succeed. Far more important is the willingness to prepare. Good preparation is the key to good presentation.

Start your preparation early. Sunday night. Start mulling over the text. Start praying about it. Let it flow through your life. Live it.

Read a lot of off-subject books. Read John Ortberg and Max Lucado and John Maxwell and books that have lots of illustration. Illustrations make the teaching. If you are reading a lot, you will have lots of stories to pull from. Fresh stories. New stories. Lots of stories.

Secret #5: Clarity

I am still waiting for the first person to come to me after any presentation and say, "That was really deep." I choose to take it as a complement.

Good teaching has a certain clarity, a certain simplicity about it. Don't muddy the water. Don't try to be deep. Be clear.

Brilliance is about taking complex truth and making it clear. Ask yourself: how would I explain this to a fourth grader?

Part of the issue here is focus. We say so little because we try to say so much. I ought to be able to stop you before you walk into class and ask you what you are gong to teach on. You ought to be able to say in one sentence. I ought to be able to ask any of your students after class what you taught on, and they ought to come up with about the same sentence.

Secret #6: Keep it short

I never heard a bad short sermon. Date to keep it short. Do I need to go on and on about this?

Secret #7: Say it with style

Bruce Wilkinson has a whole series (video and audio) on this topic called Teaching With Style. It is great.

Have a little flair. Do a little drama. Inject a little creativity. Deliver the message full throttle. Include stuff that you can touch and feel. Show a video clip. Take the group on a field trip. Vary your voice--the pitch, the rate, the style. Pause a little longer than you ever have. Wear a funny costume. Do something unusual. Be unpredictable. Be shocking. Pick up the pace. Lower the lights. Turn off the lights. Hold something. Show them something. Do something. Have them do something. Do something different. Anything, just be different.

Secret #8: Command Presence

In his book and video The Seven Laws of the Learner, Bruce Wilkinson talks a lot about his hero Howard Hendricks. One day Bruce decided to see what Dr. Hendricks would do if he refused to pay attention. So, he decided ahead of time that no matter what Dr. Hendricks said or did, he was just going to set there and stair outside the window.

Hendricks went nuts. He changed his whole routine and by two minutes into class he was practically grabbing Wilkinson by the throat to get his attention. Great communicators do that. They command attention.

Great communicators scan the audience to see that everyone is paying attention. If everyone is paying attention, they keep rocking along. If not, the do something--anything--whatever it takes--to get their attention.

Secret #9 Wear it well

Dress is not as important as character, but it does matter.

Secret #10: Reinvent yourself

Lamentations 3.23 says that God's mercies are, "New every morning." People are wondering, "What has God done for you lately?"

If you are constantly talking about stories that happened 20 years ago, that is a problem. Effective teaching is current teaching. It has to do with what God is doing in your life now. Prayers you have on your heart now. Concerns you have now. Goals you have now. Things you read in your Bible this week. Opportunities to share you have had recently.

We serve a God who is alive and well and people want to know about that. Not about history. They want to know about a God that is alive and active and living in your life.


Well, there is the overview. What a great book. Consider buying it, reading it and, perhaps this fall, studying it as a group.


Dr. Charles Stanley

We recently had the privilege of hosting Josh Hunt for our mid winter Sunday Morning Bible Study leadership conference. The emphasis on investing and building relationships is the key to reaching our society today. Fellowship is premium in a world where we face an epidemic of loneliness. People are looking for more than a "friendly" church. They want a place where they can grow and develop lasting relationships that will assist them in building a biblical foundation for life. If you have not had the opportunity to have Josh Hunt in your church or attend one of his conferences, make plans to involve your leadership. His concepts will make a difference in your thinking about how simple it really is to reach out to people.


Charles F. Stanley
Senior Pastor First Baptist Church Atlanta

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