Remember your first lessons in effective public speaking? Your teacher laid down a few fundamentals; control your body movements, look your audience in the eye, modulate your vocal tones and look like you’re enjoying yourself. Since then, you’ve improved with practice and developed your own style, but the basic rules still apply.

Life is all about communication. It’s no good developing a message to share with the world if you haven’t developed the means with which to convey it. Catching people’s attention and persuading them with your arguments is a vital part of purposeful existence, and the mechanics of public speaking are essential to that effort.

Life is all about communication.

There are, however, some exceptions. I was fascinated to hear once a great exponent of the art of public speaking point out that the Lubavitcher Rebbe broke all the rules. He rarely discussed current events in his public talks, nor did he tell routinely jokes and stories. He would sit or stand almost motionlessly, speaking sometimes for hours without pause. Rather than indulge in expansive gestures, his hands were often held stationary under the tablecloth, and most of the time his voice was distinctly monotone.

And yet, thousands of people in his audience and hundreds of thousands listening and watching live would hang onto every word he said. When you’re speaking the truth, you don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles to make an impression.

The same concept could be applied to Moses. Have you ever wondered why G‑d would choose a man with a speech impediment as His main messenger to mankind? Moshe was a self-described stutterer who could barely communicate with his fellow Hebrews, let alone represent G‑d in Pharaoh’s court.

Have you ever wondered why G‑d would choose a man with a speech impediment as His main messenger to mankind?

But that’s the point. Moshe was not just some charismatic preacher-man with the gift for the gab and the ability to bend people to his purpose. Rather, Moshe was merely a mouthpiece for G‑d’s message. The Jewish people who followed Moshe into the desert were not beguiled by a fancy shyster with a golden tongue, but were responding to the essential truth of his words. It was the message, not the medium, that drew them, and that message still rings true today.

There may be tricks to effective public speaking, and it makes sense to try your best to make a positive impression. Yet the next time you get up to address an audience, worry less about the structure of your speech and your posture and pose, but close your eyes for a second and whisper a silent prayer to G‑d that His message be communicated through you and that you merit to say that which He needs your audience to hear.