Teaching Tip 359 | “Plain Speaking – Listening to your Listeners” | Malcolm Cox

Here is your 2-minute tip based on the book, “Plain speaking: How to preach and teach effectively” by David Bercot.

In the previous episode, we explored eye contact. What does this have to do with listening to our listeners? As Bercot says, ’When you make eye contact with your listeners, you’ll soon find that they’re communicating back to you.’ 75 How does this help our speaking effectiveness? Let’s discuss what to look out for and how to respond.

  1. Confusion. When you see frowns and puzzled looks you may not be explaining your point well. It might be time to try a different approach. You could use a fresh illustration, take a different angle, or simply stop and ask ‘Am I making myself clear?’ By the way, the question needs to genuine. I have heard speakers say, “Does that make sense?”, but from insecurity rather than a genuine desire to hear an answer.
  2. Disagreement. Occasionally, you might see shaking heads and crossed arms—perhaps even listeners arguing over what you have said. If it happens, do not ignore it. You could ask what the issue is, or offer to address it personally after the service.
  3. Boredom. Signs of boredom include listeners glancing at their watches, yawning, looking around the room, fidgeting and slouching. What do you do? Do not start shouting, rebuking your listeners or press on regardless. Instead, change something. Ask a question. Get the group discussing the topic of your lesson with one another, lead a prayer, ask the worship leader to lead the congregation in an appropriate song, tell a meaningful story or illustration, speed up, slow down—or, in extremis, simply stop! Perhaps they have had enough.
  4. Excitement. Smiles, bright eyes, sitting on the edge of seats—these are the sights we long to see. Be grateful when you see this, and engage with those people using eye contact. They are God’s blessing and strengthening to you. However, do not see it as a licence to add another 20 minutes to your lesson. Those smiles may well turn to frowns.

What are your thoughts on listening to our listeners?

Next time, we will go on to explore how to ‘speak with life’.

Has today’s tip been worth two minutes of your time? I hope so.

Remember to keep calm and carry on teaching.

Consider joining AIM UK&Ireland to develop your understanding of Scripture: https://aimukandireland.com/. Our next module is Spiritual Life.

Contact us here with enquiries: courses@aimukandireland.com

The website can be found here: https://aimukandireland.com

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, or practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, and leave a review.

Remember to keep calm, and carry on teaching.

God bless, Malcolm