Speaking Well Matters!
A key part of all Pastors’ work and even for most business and nonprofit leaders is the need to communicate well. There are so many reasons why we have to get this right. For Pastors, you might have heard the old adage – “As the weekend goes, so goes the church.” There’s truth in that. There is way more to a church than the Sunday experience, but that hour plus does set the tone for everything else. Our speaking (in the church, nonprofit or business world) will either motivate, or cause staff and clients to disengage. In the church context, the effectiveness of our speaking takes on eternal consequences. It will help folks listen to the truth, take another step toward following Jesus, or convict someone of the need to make a change. Our speaking matters! So how can speak in the most effective way possible?
Speaking Well is Learned
I’ve used a teaching team for the last twelve years, and I believe that is the number one reason why my own teaching/preaching has improved significantly. I share the teaching and speaking opportunities with other men and women. The only way we grow our speaking ability is to speak! This same team also helps whoever is speaking to refine and make each message better. The speaker gets three specific times of feedback in preparation in the two weeks before presenting. We also do an evaluation after the message is given. I’m a much better speaker because of the feedback the team gives me. It is absolutely essential if you want to improve and grow your speaking ability.
To do this well, we’ve created a checklist of things the teacher and teaching team want to look for as we review and evaluate the written preparation and live presentations. These key things we’ve discovered are making a difference. We’ve been growing as a church over 8 percent the last three years. The most consistent feedback we get from folks who are new to our church is that they love the teaching and how moving, understandable and practical it is.
So, I’ve been researching, examining, experimenting and practicing these key things that make for an consistently effective message. Here’s the results of twelve years of work we’ve done with our teaching team. They will help you to say it well, whatever your “it” is!
What we Look for in Every Message
- Is there a strong opening?
- Is there a strong ending? Is there an emotional connection?
- Have we given a clear practical application? Is the audience compelled to take relevant action?
- Have we helped people imagine a better future? Have we inspired them to action, change or growth? Will this message bring about transformation? Do they know the “Why?” of the challenge?
- Are there good transitions from one idea or point to the next one?
- Is there one clear main point or main idea? Can you put it in one sentence? What’s the main thing you have to get across?
- Have we used one main scripture that is clearly explained and applied?
- Are there sufficient stories and illustrations, including live and video stories of people?
- Because less is more, what is good but not needed that can be taken out to focus on the main point better? Too much “good” gets in the way of what’s most important.
What We Look for in Most Messages
- Is there or can there be an organizing metaphor – a theme or phrase the runs through the entire message?
- How can we use appropriate props to enhance the message?
- Have we shared the gospel or part of the gospel?
Delivery of the Message:
- Did the listeners “feel” the passion, conviction, and boldness of the speaker? Was the pace, tempo and animation able to present the message with passion?
- Did the teacher engage the listeners emotionally and personally?
- Is the teacher well prepared in his/her own soul? Was the message well prepared? Was the teacher free and not tied to his/her notes?
- Did the teacher use good humor? Was there some “fun” at appropriate times?
- Did the teacher look into the camera sufficiently and address the audiences online and not just in the auditorium? (If applicable)
Do the hard work to say it well. What and how you say it matters!