Adapted from: The Lost Art of a Great Speech
When it comes to great acts, I have a spot in my heart for Elvis impersonators. I’ve seen an Asian Elvis, an Elvis with an Afro, a kid Elvis and I’ve paid homage at the Church of Elvis. But the king of Elvis impersonators is a Finnish academic best known for recording Elvis in Latin. His latest CD features Elvis songs in Sumerian. My only regret is that the Babylonians were born 2000 years too early to hear “Blue Suede Shoes” in their native tongue.
Now, these Elvises probably are making the king’s hips roll in his grave, but they do know one thing: it’s not enough to sing in tune. To succeed, they’ve got to stay in tune with the audience. And the same is true for you in making a presentation. Below are some strategies to help you do this.
Do you get inside your audience’s head? Great sermons are tailored directly to the audience’s concerns. That’s why good speakers know their congregations’ concerns and needs and tries to address them.
Do you use humor? Do – please! But to make it effective, keep it relevant to the points you’re trying to make. Jokes from left field will make you look like a reject from the Comedy Underground.
Do you combine stories and hard data? Stories draw people in and help them remember; facts convince them that your points are trustworthy. A good sermon needs both. Another way to think of it is: feed your members’ heads and hearts.
Do you pack a surprise? Do you have at least one “showstopper” in your speech that every person will go home remembering? I once saw a speaker rip his shirt off to reveal his core message written on his T-shirt. You don’t have to go that far – but if you can find something unusual to reinforce your message, it will help the message stick.
Do you challenge them? Ask not what you can do for your congregation, but what your congregation can do for itself. The best sermons raise a bar for the congregation, then suggest concrete steps for meeting it.
I’d like to continue but I’m all shook up. Thank you, thank you very much.
Food for Thought
You are richer today if you have laughed, given, and/or forgiven.
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.