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Seven Habits of Highly Effective Preachers

How to speak so listeners can't forget

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What's the difference between these two sentences?

"Washington is not an efficient, charming city."

"Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm" (John F. Kennedy).

The first is flat. The second has flair. One is prosaic, the other artistic.

Artistic speech is interesting, fresh, appealing. It fires the imagination. It speaks to the heart. It reaches corners of the human spirit that plain, literal speech misses.

While the strength of literal speech is clarity, the strength of artistic speech is depth. An artful phrase communicates at more than one level. It resonates with the soul more than Webster's-accurate prose ever will.

No wonder artistic speech is used by the best contemporary communicators in speech or in print. It was certainly used by Jesus: "No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand so that those who come in can see the light" (Luke 8:16).

Few of us, though, have the time to do any more than salt our messages ...

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