Unless your name is Andy Stanley, you probably don’t hit home runs every time you speak, but there are things you can do to bring that batting average up from the Mendoza line. Let’s start with things to avoid:
- Don’t go on forever.
I know, we should start with the beginning but frankly this can disengage people more than you know. Land the plane. Even if you don’t finish strong, please finish. I’m absolutely sure you can add information to your talk, but good speakers are dexterous with the scalpel. Dexterous. Now there’s a word for you.
- Don’t chase rabbits.
Stay on point. That’s why I preach with points. Since I am prone to wonder in more ways than one, it makes me stay focused. I strongly suggest you listen to yourself. When I recommend to pastors I always get push back about not liking to listen to yourself talk. Ok, but you want everyone else to? Doesn’t make sense to me. If you can’t summarize in a phrase what you are speaking on this weekend it’s not ready.
- Don’t delay your departure.
Come out like a boxer, swinging. No one cares about all the people you are thanking and all the small talk you’re making because you’re nervous. Miss me with all the preliminaries. If you don’t get to it, people get going. They might not leave the building; they just leave you. Also, see #1.
- Don’t try to be funny.
In fact, don’t try to be anything. I believe that humor can lower defenses and appropriately used will be helpful. The best humor is natural, its self-deprecating and not at the expense of other. The great evangelists like E. E. Cleveland always used humor, in the context of the message and it flowed. If you are not a funny guy, you’re not a funny guy. The pulpit doesn’t change you, it just squeezes out what’s inside of you.
- Don’t miss the gospel.
If you can’t connect the gospel to your message, you don’t need to be preaching it. I can get good advice from people much better qualified than you. I need the good news. Since the main purpose of a gospel message is heart transformation, not just behavior modification, there is only one thing that can do it: It’s called the G.O.S.P.E.L.
Share what your thoughts about things not to do.