Create Vocal Variety

create vocal variety

How You Speak Makes A Difference

In the last post I began the subject that I called Guidelines for Sermon Delivery. I want to continue that subject in this post. Having said, in the last post, that we should keep a pretty vigorous pace of speech, above 150 words per minute, now I want to emphasize that in an effective delivery, you will create vocal variety. What does this mean?

When to Slow Down to create vocal variety

There are some definite moments when you should slow down your pace, or even pause. This should happen when you are going to shift to a new idea in your message. One speaker that I read put it this way: slow down on the curves. So, in transitions in your message, slow the pace down a bit.

The useful pause creates vocal variety

Or, you can even pause. A pause, especially for someone who is speaking at a pretty good clip of 150 words per minute or more, can be incredibly effective. I used this one this past week preaching to my congregation. I preached on 2 Chronicles 7:14. It’s a well-known passage that reads: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

There are many things we could talk about exegetically in this passage, that it was a promise/direction to Solomon at the time of the dedication of the temple, etc. But I chose to walk through the passage, building each point of what we can do to bring about the healing of our land: humble yourselves, pray, seek his face, turn from wicked ways. I quoted the verse each time up to my point of consideration. At the end of the message I spoke the verse again, through the phrase, “turn from their wicked ways”. Then I paused for several moments. Silence even got the kids’ attention. And I was able to say dramatically, “Then…. Then will I forgive their sin and heal their land.”

The pregnant Pause is another way to create vocal variety.

Changes in Volume Creates Vocal Variety

Volume is another way to vary your delivery and create vocal variety. I remember hearing a pastor preach a sermon to a group of 40,00 men gathered in the Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. He was preaching at a Promise Keepers event. He started in a conversational tone and volume, as he described a warning that he had received that there was a gang that had threatened to disrupt the meeting, so the suggestion had been made to cancel the gathering.

Gradually, he increased volume as he wondered why anyone would be concerned about that. “How many of them are there in that gang?” he asked. He answered for himself: “I’ve heard there are about 200 in the gang. Two hundred!” he said, dropping his voice. Then he almost shouted as he said, “There are more than 40,000 of us gathered here, invoking the powerful name of Jesus. We aren’t going to stop for 200!”

Your Excitement Will Allow Them to be Excited

One of my favorite people from history is Dwight Lyman Moody, the great evangelist from the late 1800’s. He was uneducated and untrained, and yet tens of thousands of people would come to hear him preach. When asked why so many came, he was reported to answer, “I pray until I set myself on fire, and the people come to watch me burn.”

That’s what I mean when I mention excitement in your preaching. Study your text until you realize what its truth means for you and for your listeners. Reflect on what a difference it would make if people really believed and acted on the promise/challenge/comfort/command that is in your text. And when you feel the excitement or the sorrow, you’ll be ready to preach.

I’ve taken the title for this post from the training video below. It’s from the business world, not the church, but there are some great examples given of how creating vocal variety can help people listen better.

Using vocal variety to create interest

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