Yesterday we thought about shifting weight between our standing legs and moving our eyes like we are watching a tennis match. There are two more aspects of delivery that can really become distracting. Not if we do them once or twice, but once they become repetitious habits:
3. Simon Says Touch Your Face, And Again
Some preachers get into a semi-rhythmic obsession with some sort of facial touch. I know it is probably not proper to touch your face at any point, but let’s be realistic, we probably will. But if it becomes a repeated thing, listeners will get distracted. I have a year round issue with allergies, so an itchy nose is a regular challenge when preaching. Others seem to have itchy glasses, or ears that need stretching, or disappearing teeth that need confirmation of still being present, or a rebellious beard that needs to be kept calm. A movement repeated will mean listeners distracted.
4. Let’s Play Charades!
Whatever you call the game, you’ve probably played it. Words not allowed, nor noise, just gestures. And if the guessers don’t guess it, what do we do? Repeat the gesture. It’s like shouting the same thing louder through our hands. It doesn’t tend to work, but if you do it when preaching, it will grate.
Any repeated hand motion will be consciously or subconsciously noticed by at least some of your listeners. There are so many, and actually, all of them are fine. But any of them repeated will be an issue. There’s the spider on a wall mirror, the random point, the extended fist point with pen gesture (sometimes called the fishing rod cast off), the let me hand my words to you gesture, the elbows stuck to your hips T-Rex impression, or the tension in the hands werewolf, or the dead arm, or the Perspex screen around the waist stopping the hands coming above, or below it. There’s the fig leaf stance, or the unscrewing a light bulb motion, or the wringing out all moisture from the hand, or the . . . we could go on, but you get the point. It would be possible to get all these into one message and people wouldn’t notice. But get stuck on one of them for a few repetitions and they will certainly notice, and be distracted.