Chapter 35

How to Be Heard

Mastering five overlooked fundamentals of clear communication

Every summer you can find advertisements for basketball or football camps where big-name stars, for a fee, will instruct young people dreaming of athletic greatness. I wonder how much actual learning takes place when an all-star quarterback, who spends most of his time reading and outmaneuvering sophisticated defenses, tries to coach a junior-higher who's still trying to figure out how to grip the ball with hands that aren't quite big enough.

Often, I suspect, a similar effect happens to those who want to achieve superstar poise and eloquence in the pulpit. The key is focusing not on the dazzling techniques but on the fundamentals. Improvement comes from concentrating on the basics until we can perform them without conscious thought. Here are some fundamental areas that I find speakers may overlook as they try to improve.

Establishing a friendly atmosphere

To a large degree, the atmosphere we establish will determine how effective our sermon is going to be. Atmosphere is created by ...

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