- run of the mill
- too much like most other messages
- all too common
- like most others who preach
- maybe dull and even boring!
Speakers do have responsibilities to their audiences. I have heard it said, probably as have you as well . . . .
- I just preach the truths of the Bible and let the chips fall where they may.
- I’m not here to tickle the ears of the listeners.
- I just lay out the truths of the Scriptures and the Lord has to speak to the hearts.
I can understand the sense in which those statements are made. However, there is also a sense in which some would like to disregard their responsibilities as a communicator. Paul understood it when he spoke at Mars Hill, and when he said, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences — (II Corinthians 5:11).
The word “persuade” is a Greek word meaning to PERSUADE! It is the same word used other places in the New Testament and speaks of changing the minds and actions of others by words.
If a speaker does not think that they have an obligation to work at their public speaking skills, he or she . . . .
- has not spent much time listening to other speakers
- unfortunately, perceives little differences between effective and ineffective speakers
- lays all the responsibility of hearing and heeding what is said on the listener
- does not grasp the way God has created men and women emotionally, psychologically, mentally, volitionally, and spiritually
- has no reason to seek to develop and improve his or her speaking skills
- does not realize that they are already using various rhetorical techniques even though he or she may not be able to identify them
- will probably not improve
Repeatedly the need for variety, change, movement, and color has been emphasized. Whether it is the use of . . . .
- a catchy title
- a way of framing an idea, point, truth, principles, or the Big Idea
- beginning with a story that has unusual impact
- closing with the end of that story
- preaching from a passage which few if any have heard preached
- calling up a biblical example/illustration which many would have never connected with the passage on which you are preaching
- structuring the message differently
- a different approach – i.e., topical instead of textual
- beginning with a biblical example of the truth found in the grammatical passage from which you are going to preach
- surprising the audience with a truth, principle, an application they were not expecting
- a visual which make it clear or real
- a personal story which makes you more authentic
- a biblical passage which addresses a topic which stands out
- a Big Idea which is memorable
- a different sized “chunk” of Scripture
- a shorter section
- a different book / alternate testament
- an unusual Bible character
- a conversational tone
- a different vantage – from the minor players in a passage
All the above – and more – are designed to help an audience listen and/or focus because half of the effectiveness of a message is achieved if the audience’s attention and concentration can be held!
Some speakers and preachers need to “up their game” and work harder to be more effective in communication!
Part of that is avoiding the repetitious patterns which we all are susceptible to when called upon to speak as often as we are and do.
Blending in with the gray background of the endless words which flood our listeners every day will not further the goal of effectively moving men and women to Christ and to be more like Christ.
An example of not blending can be heard by a Christmas message from the Gospel of John by Daven Watkins. Just listen to this clip from the introduction and you will see that his message does not blend in with the typical Christmas messages from Matthew and Luke.
The format of Jeffrey Gitomer’s book is a perfect example of NOT BLENDING IN! I was caught by his “visual-oral” style of “writing” and use it myself on these very pages.
If you have not seen it before, go onto Amazon, look at his “Little Red Book Of . . . .” in the preview screens.
One thought on “Three Mistakes Speakers Make – #4. . . .”
Hey, I’m a preacher and pastor, and I definitely agree with this post. Yes, we are to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, but we aren’t supposed to be lazy, either. Preaching is hard work, both in study and in preparation, but often the creative aspect is forgotten. We are, after all, storytellers, aren’t we? Therefore, it’s our responsibility to look for ways to tell the story to people who are awake and listening, not bored and tuned out.