Tag: business idioms

“Preaching to the Choir”

We all probably hear a lot of cliched business phrases in our work lives, but one I’ve been hearing a lot lately is “preaching to the choir”.  Whenever I hear it used, it seems to be in a manner that discourages the practice.

The idiom as it is normally used seems to mean “wasting time” — with a strong image of uselessly “persuading” those who are already persuaded, and possibly boring/annoying them with something they’ve heard a million times already.

The idea seems to be that preaching to the choir is a useless activity, because the people are already in the choir, and that the preacher would be better off finding sinners to preach to… the choir isn’t the problem, it’s these sinner people who haven’t heard your message a million times and don’t agree with your point of view who you should be preaching to.

I would like to challenge this notion. “Preaching to the choir” should be much more effective than preaching to non-believers. Think about it:

  • The choir is listening to you. They’re there because they want to be there. They want to hear preaching.
  • A choir isn’t the leader. The choir needs a leader. I’m sure they can think for themselves, but they still need someone with vision and focus, who can inspire and motivate them with a message worthy of amplification.
  • The choir exists to amplify that message! That’s why they’re there!

You don’t have to overcome a lot of resistance in the choir order to get them to buy in to your message. This means the amount of time you need to spend persuading relative to the amount of time that you can spend in action doing useful and productive things is more favorable. “Preaching to the choir” should be a good thing, not a pointless thing.