There Is An Answer To That . . . .

haddon robinson

“Why is it that some people preach for an hour, and it seems like twenty minutes, and some preach twenty minutes, and it seems like an hour?” — Haddon W. Robinson

There is an answer to that question!


You are in one of these four categories:

#1) You can be a good speaker without knowing why or what you are doing which makes you easy to listen to, follow, and effective.


#2) You can be a good speaker and know some of the reasons which make you an effective speaker.


Now the next one is worth your consideration!

#3) You can recognize, understand, and/or grasp many of the various rhetorical techniques and yet be only an average and even poor speaker!  Perception into a skill or art form is different from implementation.   Seeing, perceiving, grasping the dynamics operating “on the field” is different than actually “playing that position” midst all the variables.

That could easily be demonstrated in most professions.  For instance, in football, you can be a terrific head, defensive, offensive, special teams football coach and be terrible at playing any one of the many positions on that team.

This is even more obvious and understood in the realm of golf.  How many golf coaches have earned a jacket in “the Master’s” – or even come close?

10 Best Golfers Who Never Won The Masters’ Tournament

Why aren’t the best coaches always the best players in their sport?

Coaching requires a different set of skills. It requires you to have the ability to think the game, to predict the game. To gauge your own team and your opponent’s and act accordingly. Even if you don’t have the required physical conditioning that is required of you as a player, you can still be a great coach.
The converse is also true. Not all great players make good coaches.
There is a reason that there are individuals who “coach.”  A “coach” can range from a secular college class professor —  to a good practical book on “public speaking” or “homiletics”* — to a seminary homiletics professor — to even a layperson sitting in the audience** — who understands and grasps the dynamics which are operating in a speaking situation.
There are individuals who are hired to help develop the skills of professionals because they have the ability . . . .
  • to observe what is happening – overall – as a whole
  • to grasp the dynamics operating when this-or-that takes place
  • to know and understand some different options or alternatives
  • to explain why what is happening is happening
  • to give direction to change and/or improve the outcome or impact

Now this one is worth even more consideration!

#4) You can improve as a player if . . . .

  • you are teachable
  • you want to devote the time and effort to change and improving
  • you have some kind of “coach”


Improvement takes . . . .

√ a humble spirit – truly teachable

√ a driving desire to improve – to develop their communication skills

√ and someone . . . .

who is looking in from the outside (not relying on our own evaluation).

who can be “disinterested”  (not someone who loves or likes us).

who has the temperament needed to speak frankly (not a kind person, but an honest person).

who has the ability to identify and explain the dynamics which are operating in any one particular “speech.”

who can analytically quantify the various rhetorical techniques which are operating within a speech or message.


“Why is it that some people preach for an hour, and it seems like twenty minutes, and some preach twenty minutes, and it seems like an hour?” — Haddon W. Robinson


Yes, there is an answer to that question!

* Andy Stanley’s book is an excellent book on preaching and communication!

** There would be many a layperson in the audience who may not theoretically understand and/or could quantify what is happening.  That is, they could not explain what made a speaker effective, or what made the 20 minutes seem like an hour, but they know it was good, average, or terrible.  Yet, many could probably identify something specific which made it “hard on the hearers” even if they were unable to explain why as fully as one would like.

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