If you want your SPS to get attention, use these guidelines…
1. Always use ACTION VERBS in your SPS
- Vague and general verb phrases result in a weak or non-existent SPS, while action verbs guide and define a strong SPS.
- “About” is the most commonly abused passive verb phrase in speaking, leaving the audience (and sometimes the speaker) with no specific idea where the message is going.
- For example: “Today, I’m going to talk about how to study the Bible.”
- Exactly what do you mean?
- While “How to Study the Bible” may be a topic, it is not an SPS.
- Here are some examples of action verbs that establish a clear, strong SPS.
- My purpose is to convince my audience that we need to focus our minds on God’s Word more consistently.”
- My purpose is to persuade the congregation to pray every morning.
- My purpose is to inspire my audience to be more courageous in living God’s way.
- “My purpose is to explain meaning of the phrase “without form and void” in Genesis 1:2″
- “My purpose is the challenge the audience to consider Matthew 7:3 and the ‘log in their eye'”
- “My purpose is to prepare the congregation for challenges to their faith, by recounting the story of Abraham and God’s command to sacrifice his son.”
- “My purpose is to rehearse Christ’s lesson about the laborers in the vineyard from Matthew 20.”
2. Create strong, connected support pillars
- “Do each of my points clearly tie to my SPS?”
- If they had to stand alone, would they clearly do so?
A three-fold cord is not easily broken, and three support points are hard to beat. But every point should be able to be tied into the SPS in your own mind.
If you don’t have the connection clearly in mind, don’t expect the audience to do any better.
3. Remember that a QUESTION is NOT an SPS.
- A question can serve as a title.
- A question can serve as a means to present the SPS.
- A question can help the speaker to develop an SPS.
However, remember that an SPS is a Specific Purpose Statement. What is the point that you are trying to get across to your audience? What “statement” are you trying to prove, support, or explain to your audience?
A question is not an SPS!