Pastor Greg Laurie shared something with me recently that made me laugh. He called it “pulpit personality.” Essentially, pulpit personality is when a pastor or religious media personality talks in a different voice when they step into a pulpit, or on television when camera is turned on. Everywhere else on television we see reality.
Love it or hate it, reality programming has left an indelible mark on the industry. People now see what happens behind the scenes on HBO, they see “America’s Favorite Home Videos,” they see non-professionals on Youtube, and they watch the news 24/7 on cable. So when you appear on your program with your “classic TV voice” it sticks out like a sore thumb.
You know who I’m talking about. Numerous ministry leaders who are gracious, authentic, and engaging when talking with friends over lunch. But turn on the camera, or step into the pulpit, and they become someone else. Radio personalities suffer the same thing when they get in front of a microphone.
The television commercial business is a great example of the change. National spots used to be narrated by men with powerful voices. Deep voices that resonated with power and authority. But listen to a commercial today. More often than not, it sounds like a regular guy – or woman. The advertiser knows the connection doesn’t come from a perfect voice, but from the sound of someone like you and me.
Sometimes you’ll hear name actors, but in most cases, they’re hired not because of the quality of their voice, but because their voice is recognizable.
Watch regular television and listen to the difference. Stop trying to be bigger than life. Be real. Speak normally. It doesn’t make you more anointed or powerful when you try to sound like God. Talk like everyone else, and you’ll be amazed at the connection.
The “over the top” era is done.