How many good messages have been wasted by poor delivery? You’ve probably heard the old statistical misquote that content equates to only 7% of communication. There are so many flaws in applying that study to preaching, but don’t make the big mistake of thinking that content is somehow only 7% of the equation. Yes, body language and tone will overwhelm and negate content, but the visual and vocal will never fix or replace the verbal. Content matters massively. While a lack of content can’t be fixed by delivery, good content can be lost in delivery.
Here is a quick checklist for self-evaluation. There are 88 questions grouped into just 20. Remember, your self-evaluation is probably unrealistic. You probably think you are doing better than you are. You think pauses are longer than they feel, tone is more varied than it sounds, smiles are more noticeable than they are. Nonetheless, evaluation is worth it. Evaluate your own delivery and look for an area or two to prayerfully focus on and improve. Also ask a listener or two to look at this list for you – they may be polite, but any hint they give is worth following up on!
1. What does your tone and manner do for the listeners? Do they feel secure, loved, protected, safe? Do they get nervous, agitated, upset, or got at? Your tone and your manner make a big difference to the listeners, so do you think about these elements of your preaching?
2. Does your delivery flow, or does it feel like you get stuck? Why? Can you maintain momentum through the whole message in a natural way? If you get stuck, can you handle that without generating nerves in others? Do you know when you typically get stuck? Does explaining the text trip you up more, or is it thinking applicationally?
3. How is your eye contact? Are you looking at notes, over peoples’ heads, at one section of the room only? Is it fleeting, forced, intense? Can you look at people without closing your eyes or other awkward habits? Do you over-stare and create awkward intimacy for some or a sense of aggression to others? Which part of the room feel ignored as you preach?
4. Speaking of notes, do they really work for you? Do you know how much you look at them? When you look at them, do you lose momentum? Do they enable you to preach unnecessarily complex messages? Does your preaching feel canned rather than authentic?
5. Does your preaching furniture create unnecessary distance and function as a barrier between you and your listeners? Could you come out from behind that thing? Could you communicate better by being on the same level as the listeners?
We will continue the list tomorrow . . .