Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bad Language

I grew up in California, lived for a while in Hawaii, did volunteer work in the Marshal Islands and now live in Australia.

Lemme tell ya, mate. English is one well used and rarely unabused lingo!

When I started as a pastor here in Australia, with an American background, I found that the words I used could distract the audience so much that it felt like I never got them back. I learned to weed-out the Americanisms that interfered with the spoken Word of the day. Interestingly, there was nothing wrong with what I was saying. It was just to whom I was saying it.

I think that's how language works - especially when you are a communicator. Be yourself, even be origional, but don't be a stumbling block to your listener.

My accent (a mix of Aussie and Yank now that I've been here for 12 years) is often commented on. People like the unique pronunciation and cadence of my speech. Once a lady commented after church, "Pastor, you could say anything and I would listen!" I didn't know weather to be thankful for my accent or read the phone book the next weekend to save a few hours of prep time!

My point... Language is for communicating. If it gets in the way - either by being too crass or too upity, too flat or too animated, too quiet or too loud, too short or too long - it is doing harm to your message. So, when speaking - speak to your audience with authenticity and studied sincerity.

When listening to others speak, consider what you can learn about them from their speech. Primarily remember that 95 per cent of the world would rather die than speak to a large audience. So, they are not refined speakers that study their communication skills. They are just talkin' like they done heard momma talk and they e'spec some r'spec. And they should get it!

Speak well. Listen better.