Apologies for no posts over the last three days. I was expecing to have internet access where I was, but didn’t.
I was leading a session on preaching with a great group of folks yesterday. We were considering what listeners value in a communicator. Honesty. Real-ness. Vulnerability. Eye-contact. Authenticity. I wonder if a previous generation might have listed different things? Good word choice. Presence. Style. Power. Attractive voice. Something else?
Perhaps authenticity has always been important, but it seems to be especially so today. People don’t want to hear well-prepared but trafficked truth. People don’t appreciate a presentation at arms length from Bible to listener, but by-passing the heart and life of the preacher. As has always been the case, good preachers are transformed by the text before offering the text to others.
All this does not mean that speakers shouldn’t present well, clearly, effectively, even powerfully. It does mean that every element of delivery has to be genuine, natural and authentic. And that’s one of the challenges of delivery . . . it is not natural to stand in front of a group of people and speak naturally. Hence the need to work on delivery to help it become more natural. As I tend to say in the delivery workshops I sometimes run – the goal is not to perform, the goal is to let the natural you come through!
3 thoughts on “Authentic Communicators”
At one point you say, “As has always been the case, good preachers are transformed by the text before offering the text to others.”
I guess I wonder exactly what you mean by that? Say you’ve got a guy who preaches two or three different sermons each week, for whatever reason, to what degree do we require him to be transformed by each particular text before we consider him a potential candidate for the “good preacher” label.
Perhaps the line should read, “As has always been the case, good preachers are transformed by Jesus before, during, and after offering any particular text to others.”
Without trying to be nitpicky, and I’m sure this is not your intent, but I tend to think that the original wording can easily be understood in a way that places unrealistic expectations upon many preachers.
I think the Spanish Inquisition rarely received complaints that they were not “authentic communicators”. A pair of red-hot pincers can create a real connection, don’t you think?
Admittedly there are heretics who say that the story of God’s love lost something in the telling, when put across by the Spanish Inquisition. But we can’t fault their commitment, or the power of their message delivery!
In other words; I think you’ve got a bit too abstract here.
I think there’s a lot to be said about being authentic. Too many speaking coaches tell their clients to force gestures, exaggerate their voices, etc… when being the real, natural you is one of the best ways to connect with your audience. I find Joel Osteen to be incredibly effective at this – he’s an effective communicator because he appears genuinely moved by the words he’s preaching even though his speaking style may drive some in the Toastmasters crowd crazy.