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How to structure your sermons for effective communication | W. David Phillips

How to structure your sermons for effective communication

I ran across this video from TEDxEast, which is the famous TED’s presentations but located in New York City. This presentation is given by Nancy Duarte, an American writer and graphic designer. She is particularly known for her book slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations, and as the founder of Duarte Design.

In this 18 minute video, Nancy goes into the common structure that every good presentation or sermon has. She came across a common structure and then applied that structure to a multitude of what are considered great speeches and sermons from various periods of time. In the video she uses the Steve Jobs iPhone release presentation in 2007 and the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a dream” speech to demonstrate what she has found in effective communicators and their speeches throughout history.

This video has great application for the sermon structure and storying you use in your sermon. Take heed to this.

[tentblogger-youtube 1nYFpuc2Umk]

Here are some the ideas she notes, along with a person whose idea she mentions:

1. Ideas are conveyed most effectively through story. Story provides a physical reaction – your heart can race, your eyes dilate.

2. The role of the presenter is to be a mentor. You help the audience move from one thing to your new idea. You are Yoda, not Luke Skywalker. That’s the power of story.

3. Gustav Freytag – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dramatic_structure

4. Story has an arc – a shape. If presentations have a shape, what would that shape be? The greatest communicators and speeches follow this shape.

5. All great presentations follow a similar story line and shape.

6. The beginning requires to establish what is. Then compare it to what could be. And the gap between those must be a big as possible. Here’s the past, here’s the presence, but here’s the future.

7. Middle, traverses what is and what could be. What you are doing is trying to make the status quo and unappealing unappealing and draw them towards what could be if your idea is adopted. You move back and forth because people will resist. By planting within this movement their resistance, you can move people closer to your idea.

8. Then there is a call to action. This describes the world with a new bliss. This is what the world looks like when the idea is adopted.

The outworking of this can be found in her book, Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences.

In an additional video, Duarte discusses how slides prevent us from connecting at a human level.

[tentblogger-youtube M3Oof_BgnMo]

If you are going to use slides, you need to learn to do them the right way.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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