Use your real voice

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

Prior to COVID, I took an elevator. People behave strangely inside elevators. There seems to be an invisible sign smuggled in from a library that says, “Silence - No Talking.” Everybody was quiet, so I pulled a stunt. I was in front of the elevator, turned 180 degrees, faced them, and announced: “Let’s start the seminar!” People laughed.

I knew that they were on their way to the top floor to listen to me deliver a keynote. One of the attendees said, “I recognize your voice.” You sound the same inside an elevator as on the radio.” I do not modulate my voice, and glad I never did; what you hear in whatever platform I am in is precisely the same voice you get to listen to as you meet me in person.

Have you listened to televangelists? They are not liked so much. Some of them have been called the “pro-wrestlers of religion.” It seems that when they preach, they intentionally use a different voice, which decreases their credibility. It’s like putting on a show.

Mark Clark is the author of the book “The Art of Better Preaching,” He talks about this. It’s amazing to see parallelisms I can readily identify and apply to my craft as well.

Mark Clark says: “Stop pretending. Authenticity is the new currency of leadership. Stop using THAT voice – the preacher’s voice. False vulnerability, concern, false ups, and downs. Just be you.”

Let’s pause here for a while. Many preachers are authentic. I know them. What you see is what you get, including what you hear. They are loved and trusted because they are genuine.

Clark says, “talk and proclaim to people as a real person. Use biblical language certainly, but not heightened “Christianese” that nobody understands – or trusts. Be a real person. A bruised reed. A leader with a limp. Not the hero of the story.”

Have you listened to a secular speaker extolling themselves throughout the entire presentation? Young people today can smell a pretentious communicator who is always the hero (or heroine) in their story; they are not respected and trusted.

Mark Clark suggests ways on how communicators can improve. I will add some commentary on it and equate the principles to leadership communications in general.

1. Stop being content-weak

Be theologically informed. Call people to think and feel at a deeper level. You may think you can’t give people heavy ideas without losing them. It’s not true. You can hold people, but you have to work hard at it. The hours you put into writing, reading, and forming that message will also require you to explain those heavy concepts in real life for them to land and stick.

2. Stop being boring

While some scholars may care about your footnotes, ecclesiological hermeneutic, most people listening to you are trying to pay the bills, hold on to their marriage, and want to know why God allowed... (fill in the blank.) Do not abandon the reality of the Gospel and its effect on our real lives.

Many secular speakers articulate motivational cliches and churn out motherhood statements that most of the audience has read or listened to before. The challenge with being bored today in webinars is that the speaker cannot see that the zoned-out listener is already doing “add to cart” or binging on a series while the speaker rants on and on.

3. Stop wasting precious time

How many times do you wait for the preacher to SAY SOMETHING? Greeting. Intro. Announcements. The passage. I am guilty, I want to build rapport with the different audiences that, instead, I spend too much time at the beginning of my presentation. I need to work and improve on this.

4. Stop not trusting the Gospel

Mark Clark says: “The message about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Rom. 1:16).” This is more important than your church’s series brand or marketing ideas. Scriptures cannot be substituted by “motivational talks and video clips.” These materials enhance the message, but the Gospel is the Message.

Today, many speakers are obsessed with “chatbox activities,” “gamification,” and all sorts of gimmicks because they are afraid, they cannot engage their screen audiences. But meaningful engagement comes from good, relevant, and significant content, not entertaining and amusing antics.

Use your authentic and real voice, which reminds me that the message must be right. But the messenger must be righteous because the medium is also the message. (that’s one cliche for you.)



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online will have its final run for the year from Nov.  17 to 19. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798, and for more information about the program, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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