Sleeping Through the Sing Song Sermon

July 14, 2010 at 3:37 am in Ecclesiastes by John Freisinger | No Comments

Our Father (3)

who art in Heaven (5)

hallowed be Thy Name (6)

Thy Kingdom come (4)

Thy Will be done (4)

On earth (2)

As it is in Heaven (6)

The cadence is familiar to most of us. Prayers broken into 3-6 syllable segments to make sure everyone can keep up. This sort of sing-song meter is very common throughout spoken prayer but on Sunday the sermon continued to follow the cadence. Speaking in clipped phrases the priest did his best to get to the heart of the Gospel message but sadly within minutes his sing-song tone had lulled just about everyone into a comfortable stupor. Trapped in the middle of his hypnotic delivery was his key point which fell on the deaf ears of a congregation that had struggled to keep their focus.

I even began to wonder why my mind was wandering. I work on practicing active listening and I was daydreaming about 4 minutes in. My mind kept repeating, “There is a direct correlation between the audience’s attention and the speaker’s vocal dimension.”

Vary your delivery, that’s the key. And there are so many ways to do it. Slow down or speed up. Vary the length of your phrases. Raise or lower your volume. Pause. Add emphasis to key words. Use alliteration, rhyming, free verse, iambic pentameter, dialogue, even repetition of a key phrase. Just change your delivery and change it often. Their attention is fueled by your dimension.

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