- The more you say, the less people will remember. . . . “Biscuits and sermons are improved by shortening”. . . .
- Make the ‘big idea’ shape everything you say. . . . That’s one of the best reasons to preach from a full script—you get to edit before you speak. . . . [From p. 64: “[I]t’s easier for your listeners to catch a baseball than a handful of sand.”]
- Choose the shortest, most ordinary words you can. . . . The more complex your subject, the more helpful it is to describe it in ordinary words. . . .
- Use shorter sentences. . . . This isn’t about ‘dumbing down’ your content. It’s about communicating complex content clearly. (But keep in mind that alliteration is no longer considered tasteful.) More importantly, it’s about sounding like a normal, conversational you. . . .
- Forget everything your English teacher taught you. . . . [I]f you’re scripting a sermon you should expect it to read badly. It should break almost all the norms of good written expression and follow the rules of informal speech instead. . . .
- Am I repeating myself? . . . [A]s you’re introducing a new idea, it’s incredibly helpful to restate the first sentence three times, rephrasing it each time but adding no new information. . . . Avoid giving too much information and learn the difference between the pace of your speech (in ‘words per minute’) and the pace of information (in ‘ideas per minute’).
- Translate narratives into the present tense. . . . [This] makes a story seem real and immediate—it’s just like being there. . . .
- The six-million-dollar secret of illustrating. . . . Don’t sweat over illustrating the complicated stuff—just illustrate the obvious! . . . Illustrate the obvious, and the complex ideas will take care of themselves, because your listeners will be fresh and focused enough to stay with you. . . .
- People love to hear about people. . . . The journalist’s rule is this: if there are no people, there’s no story. . . .
- Work towards your key text. . . . When you’re quoting a verse, help out the listener by setting it up before you read it, rather than after. . . .
[M]ost natural communicators—whether scripted or not—tend to do most of these things by instinct.
(HT: Andy Naselli)