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Being a good conversationalist is a skill that we can all learn and improve upon. I am sure that like many people you would like to be more effective when you communicate on a verbal basis with others. One area, in particular, is that of listening actively, which is extremely important. When a person discerns that they are being listened to, it leads to trust being built as well as giving you an improved opportunity to share the good news. To find out more about this see my blog at http://lifelettercafe.com/2015/07/for-goodness-sake-will-you-listen/
In this blog, I am going to cover a proven and tested method of getting someone’s attention so that they listen to you closely. This is done through the telling of a story. I have said before that stories of powerful. People like to listen to them, especially ones that are true.
“Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit” Luke 18: 1 The Message
“Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable” Matthew 13:34 NIV
When we tell somebody a story we take them on a journey with us. The way that we speak, along with the words that we use in our stories will often cause the listener to conjure up images and sounds in their minds as well as feelings about what you have to say. Also, the method in which we share a story has an effect on the listener’s view of us. The results of this goes a long way to determining a person’s opinion and feelings about us.
You only have to read the new testament to discover that Jesus was a master storyteller. Through his use of parables or He was able to challenge the hearts and change the lives of innumerable people. He is simply the best example we could ever have of how to communicate in this way.
Research has shown from business studies that if facts and data are communicated in the form of a story, people are 22 times more likely to remember the important elements. From that evidence, it is obvious that through this method of communication people are likely to be far more attentive to what you have to say.
A good story has the ability to hold a person attention: Proof of that is the fact that millions of books have been written. That is without taking into account things like movies and television. Storytelling is one of the most effective way selling products. You can be certain that if advertisers know this information and use it to convince people that their product or service is the best it is because they know this method works.
Stories enter our long-term memory: We know this is true because we can all remember stories we were told in our childhood. We all recount them for many reasons. To educate or to relay information regarding a particular event or happening. In fact, we even tell other people stories in the same way.
Stories appeal to our emotions: Powerful accounts of life stories definitely affect people emotionally. A well prepared and crafted story can even change opinions and direction of people’s lives.
Another consideration that we should be aware of in this area of communication, are the feelings of the people we are in conversation with. The award-winning writer and poet Maya Angelou made the statement, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” From experience, I have learned that people tend to forget things like facts, but they are much more likely to remember a good story.
At teachers’ college, we were encouraged to use the art of storytelling as a method of improving a student’s retention of information. There is no doubt that this medium of communication is extremely effective. Even more than that, when you combine it with your own God story or testimony of salvation it is immensely powerful because it is truth. When you include relevant scripture and rely on the Holy Spirit to convict the heart of your listener your story becomes a potent force. See http://gospelonetoone.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/your-testimony-is-powerfulso-use-it.html
With regards to the sharing of our testimony, it is important to remember that our story should be made up of three parts. Simply put, it must have a beginning, a middle and an ending. One-third of it should be about our life before acknowledging Christ. The second element should cover how we came to know and accept Him as Lord. Finally, the third part should demonstrate how our life improved since we accepted Jesus as saviour. That means that two-thirds of our testimony should point towards Jesus and not be based in the most part about our past.
Over recent years I have had the pleasure spending time with Barry Woodward who is a truly gifted evangelist and the author of the well-known book, “Once an addict”. He has got the telling his testimony of salvation down to a real fine art. In fact, he can tell the same story in a number of different ways. Each one of them covering different instances from his life will lead up to the same place where people’s hearts are challenged and they are invited to receive Jesus as lord. Over the year’s story has impacted their lives of many people.
The first time I heard his testimony I had been a Christian for about 15 years. Being an evangelist myself I had shared my own story many times to both individuals and large groups. After hearing Barry speak I spend a great deal of time not only considering what I said but how I actually said it. From being a motivational speaker I understood=d the use of the tonality, voice inflexion and body language. However, the very next day after I heard him I carefully went through my own testimony and planned it more effectively.
When I was trained to preach I was told that in order to share a message for 30 minutes I would need to prepare for at least 12 hours. This meant that when I preached I would not be looking down at my notes but rather facing my audience. My first pastor of many years used to say, “Make sure your possessed by the message that God has given you”. Even to this day, I can still be heard preaching alone in my study. Prior preparation and practice really does go a long way to prevent a poor performance.
God has given you an amazing story to share. You may not have been a criminal, drug dealer or have come from a terrible place in life like some. Jesus saves some people from incredible hurt and circumstances whereas others he seems to save them from difficult situations like that. The amazing thing to remember and be grateful for is what being saved means with regards to where you spend eternity. It really is a miracle.
Spend some time planning and preparing your story or Gospel message in a way that will encourage people to listen to you. When you involve the Holy Spirit amazing things happen. Glory to God.
To see my book “A Fall From The Top” click on the link https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_14?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=moray+mcguffie&sprefix=Moray+McGuffie%2Caps%2C147
Visit my website: http://www.gospelonetoone.co.uk/