Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Presenter Pointers #2: First Learn, Then Teach

Every Sunday (or Saturday), Sabhaologists are on the field monitoring, observng, and analyzing presentations. This new series brings to light their observations and points of improvement in a bite-sized blog post.

First seek to understand then to be understood: the age-old adage on how to communicate.

Since presenting is nothing more than communicating to the audience a memorable message, we must ask ourselves, "What have we gained from this presentation?" We've noted earlier how important it is to guide our audience towards a goal. Thus, we must understand that goal before we can even begin to present!

Common sense, we think, but when we have a syllabus to guide our presentation, we often tune out our inquiry and curiosity. The syllabus is a great tool but like any tool it needs to be used correctly. Have you ever tried to drive in a nail with a screwdriver - we have it works but not well. The screwdriver is designed for screws. The syllabus in the same way is to help us understand. It is full of great information and ideas that we need to read with our curiosity filter open. We need to think about the different aspects of the topic and delve as deep as we can to understand the topic. For example, friendship, yesterday's topic in kishore/kishori sabha, may seem drab on the surface but can be analyzed in different ways:

  • What did Maharaj teach us through His friendships?
  • Are friendships always beneficial?
  • In our life, do we have different types of friendships?

When we fail to learn from a presentation, we let an opportunity go - an opportunity to bring our audience closer to Maharaj and Swami. Sure, it may require a bit preparation, but that's why we need two weeks to research and refine our idea.

Thus, let's seek to understand the topic then to expect the topic to be understood by our audience.

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