God's Word for today

Monday, 21 January 2008

How to be understood

When I first started preaching, I once tried to do the "intellectual bit" in a sermon. Putting in hours of research, I ended up with what I thought was a masterpiece, quoting reams of statistics and so-called expert opinion in an attempt to put across my point. The result? A sea of blank stares, followed by more than one request afterwards to explain where I was coming from.

On the other hand, most of the congregations at which I conduct services comprise mature adults, and preaching at a level that would make me sound like that wretched purple dinosaur would not win me any friends either.

So where does one find the balance?

Something that I have found out through trial and error is that you don't need to sound like an academic in order to convey complex thoughts to a mature audience. The benchmark to aim for is to ensure that someone who doesn't have a clue about your particular subject can understand what you are on about once they have read your article (or heard your sermon). The fine line is to do so without insulting their intelligence.

In a multi-cultural society such as South Africa, with 11 official languages, simpler is often better.

I found a site where you can test the readability level of your blog. This test enables you to guage the level of education required by a person to be able to understand what you are saying.

Mine's only been going for a couple of days, but here is the result:

blog readability test

According to these results, you only need an elementary (primary) school education to be able to read what I have to say.

My two benchmarks -
Dion's Random Ramblings and Wessel's Place - have readibility ratings of Elementary School and Junior High School levels respectively. And the esteemed gentlemen who write these blogs both have Ph.D's!

While I can be accused (at times) of writing a whole load of rubbish, much of what my fellow bloggers write is quite profound and gives one substantial food for thought (except for the Apple Mac stuff, although with me having been a slave to Microsoft products all of my computing life, I may need to ask Dion for forgiveness here ... I must confess to being a tad jealous when viewing all that cool stuff!)

These results can only mean one of two things: Either our blogs will be used as future scripts for Cartoon Network, or we are somehow managing to get the message across.

1 comment:

digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

Mmmm.... S, as you noted, I also did that test on my blog. I agree with you, simpler is better!

However, in some of our cases (mine in particular) simple just means simple (not better!) In your case it means effective communication!