If Jesus Gave a TED Talk? Neuroscience Communication Principles The Master Teacher Used To Persuade His Audience with Charles Stone

Thanks for joining in for the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Charles Stone, lead pastor at West Park Church in Ontario, Canada. He also is an author and provides training for pastors.

75% of people forget most of what they’ve heard from a talk within an hour. 90% forget what they’ve heard after a week unless we learn to employ certain techniques and principles in our communications. Charles is with us today to share how to craft your communication so that it better sticks with your listener.

  • Understand your listeners. // Most pastors do a good job extracting what the scriptures say. However, we also need to clearly pay attention to what is going on in the brain of our listeners and how to craft the communication of the message (before we get up to preach) so that it sticks.
  • Consider how we process. // It’s hard to keep people’s interest today. You can overdo the entertainment side of teaching. We need to take into consideration the way God created our brains and how we process information and learn as we preach the gospel because Jesus modeled these same things.
  • Eight blobs of communication. // Charles refers to eight “blobs” on the platter of communication to keep in mind: clarity, attention, affinity, capacity, durability, emotion, mindset, and transfer. Each of these principles has three takeaways in Charles’s teachings. You don’t have to use all eight of these when giving a message, but try using three or four at a time. Download the 8 Core Communication Principles Checklist here.
  • Principle of clarity. // In the principle of clarity, Charles teaches to begin with the end in mind. The three takeaways for this principle are to clarify the big takeaway (gist or verbatim), create a concept map, and the primacy recency principle. The primacy recency principle is about how people remember the most of what you say at the beginning of a talk, and they remember the second most at the end of the talk. This is because as you introduce a new concept, the brain begins to process the information to send it into long term memory. It’s important to front load and back load your key points because that’s what your audience will remember.
  • Dual coding in our brains. // The brain encodes both visually and auditorily. When you mesh those two together, that is known as dual coding, and what you’re saying will stick better with the listener. Your working memory is where things are processed and if it’s important enough it then moves to the long-term memory. Working memory is like a small stage. Only so much information can be on that stage at the same time. If you can use dual coding to better help people remember your teaching, it will stay in memory longer. One of the ways of helping someone remember is by using acronyms. Acronyms can be easier to remember, and then your listeners can recall those memories of what was learned.
  • Stay simple and clean. // Don’t allow the visuals you use to be so attention-getting by themselves that people forget what the message is about and what the visual means. Don’t overcomplicate your visuals. People may be so focused on the visuals that they don’t listen to your words. Meanwhile putting a small amount of text on a screen reinforces what people are hearing because it is both heard and seen.
  • Create a concept map. // Another way to use simple visuals is with a concept map. This technique might look like using an image to represent a concept, such as love. There are several websites that offer free stock images for your slides, or try software like Doodly to sketch a simple diagram.

You can learn more about Charles’s book, If Jesus Gave a TED Talk: Eight Neuroscience Principles the Master Teacher Used to Persuade His Audience, and read the first chapter at his website

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

If you are trying to find, develop and keep young leaders on your team look no further than Leadership Pathway. They have worked with hundreds of churches, and have interviewed thousands of candidates over the past several years. They are offering a new ebook about five of the core competencies that are at the heart of the leadership development process with every church that they partner with…just go to to pick up this free resource.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.