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Brevity is beautiful: how to say more with fewer words


The belated comedian, George Burns, once said that “the secret to a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.” Can I get an amen? Brevity is the art of saying much in few words. Unfortunately, it's not often talked about. Brevity is one of the most powerful tools that a KidMin communicator has in their tool belt! Isn’t that ironic? Sometimes there’s as much or more power in the words you choose not to say.


With that in mind, here are a few brief things for you and your KidMin teaching volunteers to consider on the journey toward brevity:


You’re taking longer than you think. Repeat after me…”I’m a word-aholic”. The first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem. Time flies when you’re speaking, but not when you’re in the audience. What feels like a minute to you is probably closer to 3 minutes. If you feel like you’re flying through your lesson too fast, don’t worry—you’re probably not.


Brevity keeps your message from getting lost in clutter. Have you ever tried to find something in a sea of clutter? It’s frustratingly difficult! Brevity cleans the clutter of words up and allows the kids to find the ones that are most important.


Memorization and brevity are best friends. The more memorized and “on script” you are, the more brief you’ll be. When people “wing it,” they tend to use more words than necessary…way more words!


Make “brain space” for brevity. The next time you teach a KidMin lesson, keep brevity in the back of your mind. Don’t be afraid to expound on things or to say them in your own way, with your own words. Just keep in mind that you need to get into and out of a thought efficiently.


You’re robbing the small group time. If your KidMin follows a Large group/Small group format, then there's important work to be done after the large group lesson is over. In short, the more time you spend talking, the less time the small group leaders get to build community and invest in their kids.


Remember the golden rule of brevity. When you’ve run out of things to say, stop talking!

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© 2020 by David Rausch.