Talk Like You Talk

The first time I had the opportunity to preach in a church I was a Law School Student (long story) with very little public speaking experience and no preaching experience. The day came, I gave my sermon, then asked my girlfriend at the time (whom I happen to be married to now) what she thought. She said it was great, but just didn’t sound like me.

“Who did I sound like?” I asked.
“Not sure,” Jen told me, “but not you.”

I had to preach a few more times before I finally figured it out. I was talking like I write. I would write out my message (still do) and I (naturally) wrote it the way I write.  (After all, I was writing.)  Then I would read it several times to internalize it (still do) and then on Sunday go up and preach it. The problem is that I would speak it as I wrote it, and I wrote it the way I write, not talk.

You may never have thought about it, but you don’t talk like you write either. You write, “We have never seen such a thing” but you’d say, “We’ve never seen such a thing.”  You write, “We have got to see it” but you’d say, “We’ve gotta see it.”

So I stood up on Sunday and said, “We have never seen such a thing” and “We have got to see it” and Jen was like, “Who is this formal guy?”

If you speak for a living, and write what you’re going to speak before you say it, write the way you talk, so when you speak, you can talk like you talk.