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Why Should I Listen to You?

Principles of effective introductions

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Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people begin to form opinions about each other. Opinions that often go on to influence the long-term nature of the relationship. The same thing happens with sermons. It does not take long for people to form an impression about a preacher and the sermon about to be delivered. An impression that the audience forms in the first few moments of a sermon often determines if the audience will listen to what follows.

Introductions play a critical role in helping preachers gain a hearing. They answer the question every listener asks of every preacher: "Why should I listen to you?"

Good introductions compel listeners to listen by succeeding at two major objectives. First, they indirectly relate the audience to the speaker. The major impressions that a listener has of a speaker are gained during the first moments of the sermon. Audiences decide during an introduction if the speaker is likeable, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. They decide if the preacher is ...

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