Has it ever occurred to you that many people who go to church are there to hear a voice that resembles Jesus’ voice?
To be a good speaker not only requires a good message that is well-prepared. It is also important to consider how the sound of your voice may impact the listener. Here are several helpful pointers to keep in mind.
• Avoid reading the sermon: When you read, you lower your head, and your voice is usually monotonous and tiring. Look at the congregation when speaking.
• Be natural: When we talk about something that is important to us, our enthusiasm is apparent, and our speech tends to be more fluent and spontaneous. Speaking from your heart can transform your sermon into a message that is pleasing to the ear.
• Don’t scream: A soft and melodious voice is pleasing and adequate. Screaming makes the listener uncomfortable and tires the speaker’s vocal chords. “Some destroy the solemn impression they may have made upon the people, by raising their voices to a very high pitch, and hallooing and screaming out the truth. When presented in this manner, truth loses much of its sweetness, its force and solemnity. But if the voice is toned right, if it has solemnity, and is so modulated as to be even pathetic, it will produce a much better impression. This was the tone in which Christ taught His disciples. He impressed them with solemnity; He spoke in a pathetic manner” (Ellen G. White, Evangelism, p. 666).
• Be a positive influence with your voice: Whether we are aware of it or not, we influence people with our voices. When you say, “Happy Sabbath!” in a happy tone, you will surely brighten someone’s day. Different messages require different intonations:
• Express happiness with a cheerful tone.
• Proclaim Christ’s return with a convincing tone.
• Say “God loves you” with a loving tone.
• Make an announcement with a jovial tone.
• When reproving, use a transparent and sincere voice.
Work to overcome unpleasant tones such as those that are shaky, timid, rude, or fearful. Listen to yourself carefully to remove irritation, yelling, fussiness, shrillness, or an artificial, threatening or agitated tone from your tone of voice.
Ellen White says, “The more expression you can put into words of truth, the more effective these words will be on those who hear. A proper presentation of the Lord’s truth is worthy of our highest efforts” (ibid.).
Alexandra Sampaio is a speech therapist in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.