Teaching Tip 363 | “Plain Speaking – landing your plane on time” | Malcolm Cox

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

“Your message may be nearly perfect in every other respect, but if you preach longer than you are supposed to, you can quickly lose the good will of your listeners.” 95

Bercot offers us four steps for us to take to ensure we land on time.

  1. Fit the topic to the time. How much time is allocated to your lesson? Will the topic fit that time? If your lesson is 10 minutes long, do not try to explain deep and complex passages of Scripture or Biblical issues.
  2. Whittle to fit. When you have your material selected ruthlessly cut out anything that is not absolutely necessary to the topic. You can always come back to the text or the subject another time and fill in anything you missed first time around.
  3. Keep track as you go. Have a clock or time where you can see it. The best place is on the wall at the opposite end of the room. Looking at your watch distracts your listeners, and it might send the message that you are in a hurry to leave!
  4. Flexible outline. You cannot always control events. Perhaps the service has to be altered at the last moment, and you suddenly have less time than you thought. Do yourself a favour and mark sections you can skip in advance. An asterisk, red mark or highlighter will do the trick.

One last thought. If you have said all there is to say, and you have not filled your time, do feel obliged to keep going. Stop, sit down or offer an opportunity for group discussion, sharing or Q&A. No one will begrudge you an early end.

What are your thoughts on the four ideas Bercot raises?

Next time, we will explore how to handle speaker’s fright.

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

Remember to keep calm and carry on teaching.

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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.

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Remember to keep calm, and carry on teaching.

God bless, Malcolm