Do you remember going to chapel in Bible college? Every once in a while, one of “the greats” would show up.
You knew you were listening to one of the great communicators when you heard two things:
1. "The Voice." It seemed to me that every great Pentecostal preacher from the early to mid-1900s cultivated what we referred to as "The Voice." It sounded deep, resounding with such vibrato that it just about rocked your bones. Every person in the room instantly snapped to attention when a preacher turned on "The Voice."
2. Memory Devices.
a. Alliteration. Every point starts with the same consonant—strong consonants preferred. We learned to pause, pray and persevere (always 3 points).
b. Acronym. One word, with each point being the letters of the word, such as Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield (PRAY).
c. Cadence. One of my favorites was D.V. Hurst, who gave each person in chapel a kernel of corn and told us, “You can plant it and reap it, or pop it and eat it."
Part of us cringes at the thought of “The Voice” today. Great preachers no longer use that as a communication technique because it doesn’t feel authentic.
Instead, we have different techniques:
- Storytelling. Great preachers draw people into the conversation through story.
- Analogies. Analogies apply biblical proofs to daily life in a way that helps them stick.
- Questions. Questions allow people to engage in the conversation—even if inside their head.
- Pause. The power of pause engages people as they digest what you’ve said and anticipate what you will say.
- Authenticity. Everyone knows that you wake up with bedhead and bad breath. You might as well admit that you struggle alongside them to connect your love for God and your life as a human. What you have to say will be relevant, and people will want to listen.
- Body language. Every great communicator in history knew how to engage an audience with their body. If your physical demeanor and your words aren’t congruent, people will stop listening. Take time to learn what mannerisms you have that deter from your message.
The Greats inspired us to be better, love God better and become great communicators in their footsteps. They spoke with passion and clarity to their time. What are you doing to hone your voice and purposefully connect with, motivate and reach the people today?
Kim Martinez is an ordained Assemblies of God pastor with a master's degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. She is a ministry and life development coach and can be found online at www.deepimprints.com. She writes a weekly column for ministrytodaymag.com.
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