Delivery Dynamics: Will They Listen

Microphone2Yesterday I pondered the question “Can they hear?” and thought about projection, pronunciation and pace.  But that is only one layer of a bigger issue.  Here’s a follow up question:

Will they listen?  Just because people technically can hear the preacher, this doesn’t mean that they want to listen.  Here are three factors to ponder:

1. Personal Warmth.  Dogs can tell when they are not liked.  So can congregations.  If the preacher lacks personal warmth, then the listeners may feel more critical of the preacher, or they may tune out what they perceive to be a critical spirit toward them.  There is no need to act like syrup and present a fake flattery (people see through that, of course).  But genuine warmth and care is critical to creating a true communication connection.

2. Prideful Attitude.  Many people have a sensitive radar when it comes to personal pride.  They can spot any hint of it in others (even while being oblivious to their own profound problems with pride!)  So be careful not to show off, to drop names, to seek to impress, to be proactively self-conscious.  When listeners thinking you are prideful, they tend to stop being good listeners.

3. Provocatively Annoying.  Not to put too fine a point on it, don’t be annoying.  I could list any number of habits that preachers might develop that might annoy their listeners, but the best way to find out is to humbly ask a few trusted listeners and be willing to listen to them.  It could be a matter of a gesture, or a vocal habit, or a strategy for interaction, or whatever.  It would be a shame for people to choose not to listen to your message because something you are doing is annoying to them.

Can they hear?  Will they listen?  Two key questions in considering the dynamics of delivery.

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