Friday, January 16, 2009


I’m intrigued by a question of which I haven’t the answer. I wonder if you might.

Why do some speakers connect and others don’t? Another way, why do speakers sometimes connect and at other times the same speaker doesn’t.

I’ve pondered this for a long time. If I could figure it out, I could bottle it possibly? I see smart guys and less smart guys both totally wasting the audience’s time. Words are said…many words….but meaning isn’t said and interest fades.

When a teacher or preacher truly connects to where the hearer gets it, what is going on? Is it style? Personality? Spirit? Passion? Enthusiasm? Humility? Confidence?

My desire is to work with my usual handful of preachers who meet in my office on Thursday morning of the Tulsa Workshop. I want to encourage them to do what they can to connect with deep meaning with their listeners, but I don’t know what it is.

I weigh my favorite speakers and their styles are far from similarity in many areas. What do you think makes a presenter effective? I really want to know.


phil said...

I find that I connect more with my audience when the text or the subject has performed surgery on my heart. In other words when a text penetrates my heart so deeply, passion and enthusiasm flows from the wound.

Tim Perkins said...

I've pondered the same question. I think a major factor is how at ease the speaker is. If he or she is struggling with nerves, the audience gets uneasy.

Also, I think inflection is huge. If there's a lot of monotone, the ears want to close down.

Lee Keele said...

I think people don't connect with speeches. They connect with people. A connection is made not by words, but through relationship. The best speakers are the ones who can use their time to build a relationship with people. What's ironic is - some of the people who are best at building relationships are HORRIBLE speakers. But the ones who can't build relationships can still be good speakers - but wont' be able to make a connection. Now that I look at what I've just said - I don't think it's really going to help you at all!?

Anonymous said...

I also believe it has to do with the personality of the speaker. I've heard some pretty sorry (homiletically speaking) sermons that were enjoyable. And some awesome sermons that were dreadful to listen to.

At first I wanted to say JOY, but not every text/subject is joyful. Then I thought about ENTHUSIASM ... in the sense that what the speaker is saying totally has his heart and interest.

But I think the best word that I can think of right now is CONVICTION. When a person who is convicted of his message stands up to speak, there is a command of the audience from the start. Conviction moves an ordinary speech into an event.

Brian's Bibilcial Minute said...

The speaker must get out of the way and let God communicate through Him. Let the Spirit run loose, preach the message to self before the audience, be convienced that the message you are presenting is of the utmost importance. Preach with passion. Hope. Conviction. Love. Grace. Mercy. And, Joy.

It's not a matter of the style, but of the HEART! Yes, people like different "flavors" of presenters, but in the end, it's all about the HEART of the speaker presenting the MESSAGE.

A Terry Rush Vs. Brian comparison. Terry is dynamic! However, we both have the HEART to share the POWERFUL news of Jesus. That will speak volumes to the listener.

When people know you care, they will care to know you, thus listen intently.

Anonymous said...

a couple of things I've noticed.

1) passion. people respond to something from the heart.

2) posing questions throughout your sermon. loooong paragraphs of streaming information could be handled in a different fashion. asking the audience a question that is simple such as "what does it mean to love your little brother?" and then giving the wrong answer. people expect the correct answer from using the wrong answers.

3) changing up the pace of your preaching. sometimes the person is moving quickly and never slows down. without a change of pace, the speaker is ranting or drawling...but change of pace at the right time is great.

these are just my thoughts as to how i react to speakers.

Mike lawson said...

These are insightful comments. I too have ponderd that question. Especially when I have an unresponsive audience. At the core the listener has to have an interest in the message and/or the speaker has to build that interest in the listener. I do believe that it is as simple as rapport... a transference of feelings between two individuals. It's that feeling that you experience when you meet a total stranger and you feel as if you have know them all of your life. I hope that your experience is that you find one, two or more individuals in your audiences that are engaged and eager to hear. Is it the words that are spoken? The boby language? The tone of the message or the rate of delivery? It is all of these things. Sincerity and passion pluck the "chord" within each of us. A resonance that keeps the lister in-tune.