How important is projection when we preach?

A common conversation I find myself having with many of the men in our church testing their preaching gifts is the issue of projection in preaching.  Different men with different gifts have varying levels of intensity when preaching.  Intensity is not to what I am referring.  Whether you are a loud, passionate, energetic preacher, or a thoughtful, warm, conversational one, vocal projection is necessary in every case.  Here are 3 reasons why…

1)  Volume.  Some preachers think there is not a need to project if they are adequately amplified with a microphone.  In fact, some hear their voice artificially amplified and will even project less thinking they need to compensate.  The fact is, a sound system can only do so much in bringing a preacher’s voice to proper amplification.  Projection is that necessary tool to find that balanced level.

2)  Clarity.  When I mention projecting to many of our men new to preaching, they think it is strictly a volume matter, but it is just as much a matter of clarity in what is being said. The most common example is when a preacher is speaking and his projection trails off at the last phrase, which affects both clarity and volume.  I remind young preachers if my 39 year old ears cannot hear or understand what you just said in the last half of your final sentence, you can be certain the 85 year old widow with hearing aids did not either.

3)  Tempo.  This is referring to the speed in which a preacher speaks.  In the same way a mumbler has trouble with clarity, a fast talker muddies the words together and makes it hard to understand.  Proper projection can help create a solid rhythm and tempo of speech that can make a preacher who is prone to fast talking, slow down.

A few practical suggestions to develop healthy projection:

  • Go in the room where you typically preach, have someone sit in the back of the room while you practice your sermon or read a long passage of Scripture without any microphone or sound amplification.  If they can hear and understand what you are articulating, you probably have found a good balanced of projection for your unique voice.

 

  • The next opportunity you have to preach, have the sermon recorded and listen to your sermon at a normal audio level.  If at any point you cannot hear what you said or understand what was said, then odds are your congregation did not either.  Make a note of those times where you mumbled or trailed off in speech and could not clearly hear what was said and you will probably find a pattern that can be worked on for the next time you preach.

We have all heard the stories of men like Spurgeon who preached to over 10,000 people in massive buildings without any amplification, or Whitefield preaching in the open air to thousands.  Although many testify of the depth and power of the natural voices of these great preachers of old, those preaching venues are still impossible to pull off without one thing..projection.  Consider how well you project when you preach.  It can make a huge difference in not just how you communicate, but the vocal clarity and understandability of what you communicate.

Posted in Preaching
2 comments on “How important is projection when we preach?
  1. Chris says:

    I was at a church doing an internship where we have to preach unamplified. It was the pastor’s conviction that if you couldn’t preach clearly and with appropriate projection that God hadn’t gifted you to preach. Apparently Spurgeon had similar convictions.

  2. Excellent post! I’m a full-time pastor, but I teach voice on the side and occasionally coach vocals for local high school musicals. Projection is invaluable, and one thing a lot of people don’t realize is that a microphone can only amplify what you give it. I remind our singers and some young preachers to sing / speak with appropriate energy and volume and trust the sound guy to take care of the rest. That said, projection is still essential for clarity…and the odd day when the sound guy is napping.

    I would make two suggestions for preachers struggling with this:
    1. Learn how to breathe properly – it probably doesn’t come naturally for you
    2. Take some time to think about where in your vocal mechanism you are actually creating the sound. You control this, and it makes the difference between an incomprehensible shout at fifty feet and a clear, articulate whisper at a hundred.

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "How important is projection when we preach?"
  1. […] How important is projection when we preach? Brain Croft with some tips on improving voice projection in public speaking. […]

  2. […] Practical Shepherding: How Important is Projection When We Preach? […]

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