Recently I listened to an excellent podcast my wife recommended to me. It is a podcast that is produced by Jennifer Rothschild a well-known speaker and author. (Go here to listen.)
I want to highlight a couple of great communication principles that really stood out to me from the podcast. (Oh I wish had learned them early in my ministry…me and a lot of long-suffering parishioners.)
The first is: Select, don’t compress.
Let’s unpack this a bit.
For a true teacher and preacher, the time spent in study is as enjoyable, if not more so, than the actual time spent sharing what you’ve studied.
There are so many wonderful and truly interesting details that are just under the surface, and like a good tour guide, you want to point them all out to your listeners.
But tragedy of tragedy, there is only so much time on this tour you’re taking your listeners on and the temptation is to try to compress all this exciting stuff into your presentation.
But the truth is, most people on your tour (think of it as the Sunday morning sermon) don’t care about all those details. They just want a few good pictures and a good story or two and they’re ready to go on to the next thing.
Sorry, not everyone is interested in the original Greek or that there is (insert your most recent amazing theological nuggets).
Or put another way…
My perfect new grandbaby.
My daughter just recently gave me another one. Her name is Ruby Carolyn and she is amazing!!! I’d like to tell you all about how it happened and show you a “only” a few dozen pictures.
Oops, there I go–trying to compress all this exciting news in my family over on to you.
I’m guessing that you’re like most people, all they really care to know about the birth of my perfect grandchild is whether or not it is a boy or a girl, is it healthy, and is the mom okay. Once I get beyond that, I notice that people begin to get a panicky look in their eyes and start looking for the door.
Oh, there may be a few who want a few more details (they’re called great grandparents), but the majority (including you and no offence taken) would really rather I cut to the chase and be done with it.
So whether you’re telling the greatest story on earth (it’s call the Gospel) or the second greatest story on earth–the birth of your amazing children, it’s best to select the very most important thing that needs to be said and build your presentation around that.
The ONE THING for today: Nothing kills a potentially great sermon like wearying the listener with too many details. Don’t try to compress all that great material into your presentation. Pare it down to the essentials and let those who want more come up and ask you after the service.
A suggestion. Why not turn that three-point sermon, chock full of great material, into a three-part series, and allow your listeners time to digest it. It’s a win/win. It give you time to truly refine something worth saying and it gives your listeners time to appreciate what you’re saying.
In the spirit of today’s principle of “select, don’t compress”, we’ll look at the other principle next Saturday.