I've mentioned before that one of my favorite people to listen to is Andy Stanley. Strictly from a communication standpoint, I can't think of many people in America that I would rather hear. I love his style, and his ability to communicate wisdom in a transferable, memorable way.

If you're looking for some good insight on leadership, Stanley's Leadership Podcast is a great resource.     

One of the things I love about Andy is that he seems to be absolutely unable to communicate a big point just once. Ever. He always restates his main point multiple times. I think it's compulsive for him.    

Last week I was listening to the Leadership Podcast at the gym, and Andy was giving a talk about communication to a group of several leaders. One of his main points about communication was that communicators need to be sure to always ask the question, "What do they need to know?" (And he repeated the question three times). 

He encouraged teachers to hone down their lesson to be able to answer this question in one sentence; this is the one thing, the big idea, the main point. Then he gave several examples of "main things" from sermons he had preached in the past. And as he said each one of those main points, he repeated them at least twice. And they were just illustrations. They were "main points" from the past - not even from this particular talk - but he was so disciplined in restating the point that he repeated them instinctively.    

As a leader, you know the main point. It oozes out of you. You've lived with it for 52 hours during the week. You've thought about it, you've created it, you've dreamed about it, you've tweaked it, and coddled it, and illustrated it, and applied it, and you could say it backwards and upside down.  And you will take it for granted that the audience will know it too, if you don't become like Pavlov's dog; every time you say the main point, say it twice. At least.    

Every time you say the main point, say it twice. At least.    

See how that works?   When you repeat a statement back-to-back you force your audience to focus on it. You attach little flashing red lights to the statement that let them know they need to remember it; that every thing in your message is tied to that point, and if they miss it, they'll miss the point. It gives them a chance to write it down, commit it to memory, or question whether or not it's really true. Once they've done that, you have them.    

Every time you say the main point, say it twice. At least. 


Mark Hancock said...

Thanks, Chris.

Good advice.

Good advice.

Grace and Peace,


C and P McKinzie said...

As you know, there is an opportunity this coming weekend to hear Tony Evans speak in Fort Worth. I said something to my dad about how I would enjoy hearing Pastor Evans speak. He said he's a hollerer- and so is Andy Stanley. He went on to say they're good, but why do they need to holler (yes, we're so Texan!) When you have solid preaching like his pastor and mine, why would you want to listen to a hollerer?

That got me to thinking. First, why had I noticed that Evans was a hollerer, but I hadn't noticed that Stanley was? Second, why do we enjoy some hollerers (Evans, Stanley) but are irritated by others? Third, do they teach that in seminary? ;) Seriously, why do some preachers holler? And what do you think about it?

Chris Freeland said...


I've heard Andy Stanley called a lot of things in my life - a "hollerer" is not one of them. Your dad might be thinking of Andy's dad, Charles, who has a much more Southern Baptist style. Even still, I wouldn't consider either of them a "hollerer" like some of the preachers I've heard in my past.

Dr. Evans is an African American preacher who certainly embraces a style of preaching that "conveys a lot of emotion." It has its roots back in slave days where the preacher's role was to motivate as much as to inform. (I reviewed a book by Dolphus Weary a few weeks ago, which has a really helpful section on the reasons that style developed. I'll let you borrow it if you want).

I didn't learn to holler in seminary, but sometimes I wish I could. The reason for it is probably as diverse as the preachers themselves. For some, it's a method to convey passion: when they get excited they talk more loudly. For some, it's a method to draw attention to the main point. For some, it's probably a less-healthy authoritarian thing.

Personally, I'd listen to solid, biblically based African American preaching every day of the week. But I certainly wouldn't fault someone who is bothered by it. I guess it's a style/preference issue as much as anything.