One of the recurring morsels upon which I continue to chew on from our recent trip to the Holy Land is the role of the guide.
In the Holy Land our main guide – Abbed – was amazing, as I’ve indicated elsewhere. Roni, from the Israel Museum, astonished with his knowledge of the exhibits and their riches. Shahar Shilo, the Ben Gurion University professor, led us into the depths of the City of David.
From them all I was reminded about the components of being a great presenter.
- Know your material
It sounds obvious but there is a profound difference being in the presence of someone who has immersed themselves in their subject as opposed to one who has simply scanned a fact sheet or Wikipedia entry an hour before presentation.
Not only was Shilo able to quickly dispel the misconception that the City of David was synonymous with Jerusalem but he provided the historical framework that led us to nod our understanding of how the small Jebusite city David conquered persists but became and remains just a small part of the grander Jerusalem. When necessary Shahar could place even small details within a larger methodological framework for those who desired that grounding. Who could forget his excitement at explaining how one particular finding rung the Triple Bingo – (i) mention in the Bible; (ii) extra-biblical reference; and (iii) archaeological evidence.
Note to self: What am I equally passionate about learning, engaging and communicating.
Note to preachers: Do you know the text? Have you explored the theme? Have you identified the points of connection with and implications for the life of your community and your own life?
2. Feel the Passion
I had the sense that if he no longer got paid to do it Shahar would still be rooting around the excavation sites of the City of David and seizing opportunities to share the discoveries and their implications. Even though we had traipsed up and down a variety of tels and seen many, many rocks somehow we all knew from his excitement that these rocks were “very special.”
“Come, come, you’ll want to see this. Most incredible!” he would say as he led us even deeper into the ruins.
Note to self: What discovery have I made that I cannot wait to share?
Note to preachers: What has the preparation of this sermon opened up for you that you were unaware of before starting the process?
3. Now do it
The marketing world, I believe, calls this the Call to Action (CTA) phase. Now that you have gotten “just a tiny glimpse” into this amazing area what do you want to do?
Shahar Shilo’s answer was clear and straightforward: come back and bring your friends so that they too can appreciate this discovery. Too often I have attended presentations where the end result seemed to be “Well I hope you have found this interesting.” So?
Note to self: As a result of this presentation what do I want/hope/expect people to feel and to do?
Note to preachers: In what ways will the encounter with this sermon impact the lives of listeners? (A “good sermon” at the door is not sufficient.:-) )
Basic movements to a presentation but these guides did them so incredibly well I came away inspired to take my craft to a level.