The simplest way to improve your sermon delivery is to make eye contact with your audience. Some public speaking coaches will tell you to stare at the back wall to mitigate nervousness. Do not do this. It ruins your delivery.
Other preachers make the mistake of preaching at their pulpits with only the briefest of glances at their audience. Do not do this either. Instead, only look at your Bible and notes when you need to read a sentence or a brief passage or when you need to remember your place in the sermon’s flow – the rest of the time your eyes should be on the people.
A few notes:
- Do not look only at one or two people. That’s weird.
- Focus most on your best listeners.
- It builds a dynamic in the pulpit/pew synergy.
- Scan the whole audience (see #1) but find a handful of amen-ers and edge-of-the-seaters with whom to build that synergy.
- If you don’t have any folks like that right now, you will later as your preaching improves. Some people are good listeners because they have self-discipline. Thank God for these people.
- Read the faces of the people, but take everything with a grain of salt.
- Your interpretation of their facial reactions might not be accurate.
- Nonetheless, reading faces can help. For example: do some of your good listeners look confused? Then you need to explain something better, or maybe you’re not enunciating clearly.
Making and maintaining eye contact is the easiest way to improve your sermon delivery. It makes your preaching more sincere and authoritative.