Engage Your Audience, Sell Your Ideas, and Inspire People to Act

If I am to speak for ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now. – Woodrow T. Wilson

There are typically very few – if any – leadership positions in which the leader is a lone ranger with no teams to work with or report to, no organizational support, and no larger group to speak to on occasions.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are few leadership positions where the leader is constantly working with teams of all sizes, being supported by a few – or a few dozen – individuals, and is regularly speaking to a larger group.

One of those positions is a pastor.

When a pastor steps to the pulpit – in a 100 member church or a 10,000 member church, and everywhere in between – it would be easy to feel as if he were in a position of power. After all, he is up in front of the crowd, maybe even elevated on a stage, and people have come to hear him speak. The speaker is the star of the show, right?

Wrong. The audience is.

I would pause just to say that God is our ultimate audience, and everything we do as a believer is first to an audience of One. That, to me, is a given.

The speaker is not the star of the presentation – the audience is, because they will determine whether your idea spreads or dies, simply by embracing or rejecting it. You need them more than they need you. They have the control, and the speaker needs to be humble in his approach to speaking to them.

How, then, do you become an excellent presenter?

Nancy Duarte is CEO of Duarte, Inc. She teaches workshops on the art of presenting and is the author of two award-winning books: Slide:ology and Resonate. Wait a minute – better make that three!

Harvard Business Review has just published Duarte’s newest book, HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, and once again she has delivered a valuable tool for speakers everywhere – but especially pastors who stand up every week and deliver a presentation – a sermon – to their congregations.

Duarte’s Guide is broken into 7 sections as follows:

We live and work in a first-draft culture. Type a text or email – send. Write a blog entry – post. Throw some images together – speak.

According to Duarte, though, it’s in crafting and recrafting, in iteration and rehearsal that excellence emerges.

But, you say, I have so many other things to do and I can’t worry about becoming an excellent communicator. Guess what? Becoming an excellent communicator will help you get those things done.

Ready to start?

Next: Audience: Know your audience and build empathy

Want to read more by Nancy Duarte? Click here to read her “10 Steps in Preparing a Powerful Presentation” and also download a free summary of her book Resonate.


7 thoughts on “Engage Your Audience, Sell Your Ideas, and Inspire People to Act

  1. Pingback: Know Your Audience and Build Empathy « 27gen

  2. Pingback: Develop Persuasive Content in Your Message « 27gen

  3. Pingback: Use Storytelling Principles and Structure to Engage Your Audience « 27gen

  4. Pingback: Media – Identify the Best Modes for Communicating Your Message « 27gen

  5. Pingback: Slides – Conceptualize and Simplify the Display of Information « 27gen

  6. Pingback: Delivery – Deliver Your Presentation Authentically « 27gen

  7. Pingback: Impact – Measure and Increase Your Presentation’s Impact on Your Audience « 27gen

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