Clarity in oral communication comes naturally to some gifted communicators. The rest of us need to work at it. The following is based on this post by Andy Naselli, which is itself based on Miller & Campbell’s book (details at the bottom):-
- Less is more. . . . Say less, and people will remember more.
- It’s all about the ‘big idea’. . . . It’s easier to catch a ball than a handful of sand.
- Use simple, ordinary words . . . Especially if the ideas are complex or difficult.
- Use short sentences. . . . Just like in a normal conversation.
- Forget about ‘correct’ written English. . . . The rules of informal speech are completely different from those of written expression.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. . . State each new idea two or three times, rephrasing it each time. Remember, with live oral communication people cannot go back and re-read, nor can they re-wind the tape, so you need to hammer home each main point with more several lusty blows.
- Vary your pace. . .Learn how to vary both the pace of speech (in words per minute) and the pace of information (in ideas per minute). Doing so will enable you to inject more energy, emphasis and expression into your speech
- Tell stories in the present tense. . . . This gives the story immediacy and impact – just like being there.
- Illustrate the easy stuff. . . . Don’t worry about illustrating the complicated stuff. Illustrate the obvious, and listeners will be fresh enough to stay focused on the complex stuff.
- Talk about people. . . . As the journalists say: ‘If there are no people, there’s no story’.
- Set up your text. . . . When quoting a verse, set it up before you read it, rather than after.
Gary Millar and Phil Campbell, Saving Eutychus: How to Preach God’s Word and Keep People Awake (Kingsford NSW, Australia: Matthias Media, 2013), 50–61.
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