March 6, 2012 Jason Vernon

The Thirty Second Rule

By Jeff Henderson, Lead Pastor of Gwinnett Church

Between my junior year of high school and my senior year of college, I spent many weekends speaking to high school students. I’ll never forget watching the yawns and disinterested looks when I stood up to speak. I quickly realized that I only had about 30 seconds to capture their attention. If this didn’t happen, they would simply turn to the person next to them and start talking (Today, they prefer Facebook and Twitter). You have to love teenagers.

If I didn’t create a reason for them to listen in the first 30 seconds, I was done. It didn’t matter how true, Biblically accurate or compelling the message was, I only had 30 seconds.

Years later when I started helping friends with their business presentations, I realized the same was true for them. You will lose your audience if you don’t give them a reason to listen in the first part of your message.

This is why I tell communicators to pretend that the audience doesn’t care about what you are about to say. Your job is to convince them otherwise. People often say that we live in the “Information Age.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. We live in the “Attention Economy.” Your job as a communicator is to capture your audience’s attention.

The next time you stand up to speak, look at your audience and remember this one rule:

You only have 30 seconds.

The fact that you and I are given a microphone to speak is a huge privilege and opportunity. It’s one of the many reasons we’re creating a community of communicators to coach, encourage, and develop your speaking skills. It’s what Preaching Rocket is all about.

Join us on our first step toward creating this community at a free online event called Preach Better Sermons on March 15th from 1-4 PM ET. This free conference features some of the best communicators in business, preaching, teaching and comedy.

Jeff Henderson is the Lead Pastor of Gwinnett Church, the most recent multi-campus location of North Point Ministries. Prior to Gwinnett Church, Jeff served as the Lead Pastor of Buckhead Church, North Point’s first multi-site location for seven years. He spent 21 years in marketing, working most recently for Chick-fil-A, before beginning his roles with North Point Ministries. Jeff will talk about how effective preparation leads to powerful messages. He will also serve as the host for the entire event.



This is a sponsored post from Preaching Rocket, one of my ministry partners on


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Jason Vernon

Jason is the Director of Content Development for The Unstuck Group. He graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Marketing and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership. He also received an MBA from Lynchburg College. Jason was a Marketing Consultant for over 7 years. He currently serves as Communications Director at Free Chapel in Gainesville, GA.
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