I just finished perhaps the best book I’ve ever read on communication (public speaking, teaching, or “preaching”) called Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones. The book is very practical, very helpful, and very challenging. Some of my favorite quotes:
Let’s face it, the reason so many churches are half full on Sunday morning is because a whole bunch of people decided not to come back. Why? The preacher didn’t give ‘em anything to come back for. There were plenty of points, but nothing worth coming back for the following week. 115
I find something disingenuous about the speaker who says, “This is very, very important,” and then reads something from his notes. Constantly referring to notes communicates, “I have not internalized this message. I want everybody else to internalize it, but I haven’t.” 135
How you say what you say is as important as what you say. Presentation determines your audience’s attention span…The point is, when we are engaged, time flies. When we are not engaged time stands still. The issue is not the span of people’s attention. The issue is our ability to capture and hold people’s attention. 146-7
My assumption is, if I don’t capture the audience’s attention in the first five minutes, all is lost. 154
My style can become a smoke screen for any number of bad communication habits. Through the years I’ve heard too many preachers and teachers play the style card to keep from having to change and improve. Boring is not a style. Boring is boring. Confusing may be a style. But it is still confusing. Each of our communication habits, both good and bad, are part of our style. But bad habits need to be eliminated from our style, not defended as part of it. 170
Moral of the story, clarity trumps style. Clarity trumps just about everything. 175
This is good reading for anyone who wants to communicate for life change. Pastors! Read this book!