Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Presenting to Win

Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story
By Jerry Weissman

This was another Kindle freebie (check out Pixel of Ink on Facebook for daily suggestions) that I wanted to read because I thought it would help improve my preaching. As my preaching is not only my livelihood but also one of my strengths as a pastor, I am often on the lookout for tools to hone my craft. Presenting to Win is a helpful tutorial on how to make awesome presentations and it is mostly aimed toward those in the business world.

Now I must begin by saying that you must skip the Forward, Preface and Introduction in order to get anything out of this book. That is, unless you are already a big Jerry Weissman fan and want to know all about how great and wonderful he is in Hollywood and the biggest businesses in America. I almost stopped reading the book before I had even gotten to the first chapter.

Once you get to chapter one, you will then really get a lot out of the book and a true appreciation for what Weissman has to teach. Weissman teaches what is wrong with many presentations, how to get the audience on your side, the power of helping the audience see what is in it for them, sticking with a theme and a purpose, how to organize your thoughts even before you begin to write, and how to use power point well. I love how Weissman even addressed one of my pet peeves: reading aloud what is on the slide as though the audience can't. He also suggests not handing out anything until after the presentation. How many of us have learned that the hard way?

What did this book have to do with my faith? Well, I actually used the ideas in Presenting to Win for a presentation on my recent mission trip to Ecuador. I had already done one presentation which was as random and rambling as you can imagine. Surely folks learned something but for what purpose? I think I have actually done better preaching about the trip than I have presenting facts from the trip. I guess that is because I always have a theme and a goal when I preach (and the Holy Spirit helps, too). When I used Weissman's methods, my presentation was so much better and I felt like I made a connection between the audience and the mission trip. Although I was unable to use a power point, I did use the other ideas in my presentation. This goes to show that even a secular book can impact our lives in a community of faith in helpful ways.

I highly recommend Presenting to Win (at least after the first chapter begins)!

Happy reading (and presenting),


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