The best thoughts do not always win. Ideas that are communicated effectively come out on top. I often ask myself, why are the best television advertisements for beer? Can’t the gospel be promoted with equal professionalism? Without diminishing the work of the Holy Spirit, we should ask ourselves, Is our poor delivery obscuring the message of Jesus? God has entrusted us with the mission of gospel truth so we must set the marketing standard. Whether it be delivering a sermon, blogging, teaching kids songs, or in 1-on-1 conversation, our presentation is of spiritual importance. In that sense, we are all preachers. We all have a responsibility to become better communicators.
Fifteen years ago, I was introduced to the Ten Rules of the Effective Speaker:
1. The effective speaker is a person whose character, knowledge, and judgement command respect.
2. The effective speaker has a message to deliver, a definite purpose in giving that message, and is consumed with the necessity of getting that message across and accomplishing that purpose.
3. The effective speaker realises that the primary purpose of speech is the communication of ideas and feelings in order to get a desired response.
4. The effective speaker analyses and adjusts to every speaking situation.
5. The effective speaker chooses topics which are significant and appropriate.
6. The effective speaker reads and listens with discrimination (neither blindly accepting the ideas of others, nor stubbornly refusing to consider opinions opposed to his own).
7. The effective speaker secures facts and opinions through sound research and careful thought so that his speech, both on and off the platform, may be worthy of the listener’s time.
8. The effective speaker selects and organises materials so that they form a unified and coherent whole.
9. The effective speaker uses language that is clear, direct, appropriate, and vivid.
10. The effective speaker makes his delivery vital and keeps it free from distracting elements.
Each of us should consider our communication skills and styles. As we become more aware of our communication strengths and weaknesses, we can then embrace ways to improve. Taking a ‘Think on Your Feet’ class, joining a local ‘toastmasters’ group, or seeking out a communication mentor are just a few options. At the end of the day, someone effectively communicated the gospel to us so we could come to salvation. As we seek to improve our delivery effectiveness, let’s consider the following three questions.
- Who are some of the most effective communicators that you have heard?
- What are some of the best communication techniques that you have witnessed?
- Which strategies will you employ to improve your communication?