Points for Ministers of the Word
The first step in improving our proclamation of the Word is the desire to improve it.
If a person never looks at you when he is speaking, you may think he has something to hide or that he is not really interested in you. When a Minister of the Word does not look at the congregation, the congregation thinks something similar.
Eye-contact with an audience is one of the most important principles of public speaking. It is also one of the most difficult to develop.
Ministers of the Word must learn to read ahead and to look at the congregation when proclaiming the Word. When reading a sentence, for example, try to get the entire sentence in mind, and when about half finished, look at the congregation for the last half of the sentence. Don’t be stilted in this, but this little practice may help you to learn to look at the congregation. To avoid losing your place when looking at the congregation you can place you finger at the place in the text you have reached.
When looking up to the congregation do not look at the same place each time. Try to look at the entire congregation – not jerking the head, but looking to right and left and centre periodically and smoothly so people will feel you have something to tell them. Remember, your eyes are the most expressive part of your face.
If it is a source of nervousness or embarrassment to look directly into people’s eyes, you can look just above their heads and they will feel you are looking directly at them. You will be amazed how much eye-contact adds to speech. How often it is that people think a speaker is talking to them and them alone because of eye contact. This is the kind of communication God wants – God is speaking directly to people.