Today we look at the tenth chapter ‘How to Preach so People will Listen’.

A sermon is not a text or an outline, it is thing that only lives as it is spoken. The speaking of it is what makes it real. Therefore the way we deliver it is important. The oft-quoted adage that only 7 percent of a message comes through the words is, I understand, a debatable claim. But, what cannot be denied is that the way we speak a sermon has a significant influence on the way it is received. Below I lay out the structure of the chapter in Haden Robinson’s book. I will not go through it in detail – better that you buy the book! What I will do today is share some observations based on my experience.

The outline in Haddon Robinson’s book

  1. Grooming and dress
  2. Movement and gestures: spontaneous gestures; definite gestures; varied gestures; properly timed gestures
  3. Eye contact
  4. Vocal delivery: pitch; Punch; progress; pause
  5. Rehearsal
  6. Feedback

First, some examples from Jesus.


  • Gesture – “Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.” (Matthew 12:49 NIV11)
  • Confidence – “But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:30 NIV11)
  • Action (using props) – “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.” (Luke 9:47 NIV11); “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”” (Mark 14:22 NIV11)
  • Action (from someone else) – “Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.” (Matthew 12:13 NIV11)
  • Tone – ““Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.” (Luke 4:35 NIV11)
  • Eye contact – “Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24 NIV11)

Some Experiences & Common Tendencies

  • Presence: Walk confidently
  • Clothing
  • First personal feedback
  • First video feedback: Consider drama training
  • Posture: No extremes

What have I missed? Can you think of other examples in the Old and New Testaments of the way people speaking having an impact?

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Remember to keep calm, and carry on teaching.

God bless, Malcolm