What Preachers Can Learn from the Best Business Communicators

I remember three things about the iPhone launch:
1. I was at home sick with the flu.
2. It was the first time I had ever watched Steve Jobs give a presentation.
3. After he was done, I really wanted an iPhone.
I’ll be the first to admit that a sermon is different than a presentation. That said, there are many similarities. Preachers can learn a lot from business communicators (and vice-versa.)
Watching Steve Jobs present that day, I told my wife, “This guy is an evangelist.”  If you have never watched the presentation, I would encourage you to watch it here.  There is so much to learn from what he did that day. Here are four takeaways:
1.  Preach Headlines.  Jobs used the phrase “reinvent the phone” five times in his speech. The next day, media reports around the world ran headlines saying, “Apple reinvents the phone.”  A great question for preachers to ask is this: “If a reporter was covering my sermon, what would be the headline?” What is your memorable, repeatable bottom line? Preach headlines.
2.  Rehearse.  The first time you say your presentation out loud should never be in front of your audience.  Rehearse it. Practice it. The push back I get on this advice is two-fold. “It’s awkward.” True.  What’s more awkward is giving a bad presentation in front of people. Second push-back is: “I don’t have the time.”  It Steve Jobs could find the time, we can too.
3.  Have fun. Business presenters have a tendency to take themselves too seriously. Preachers do too.  Have fun. Smile. Laugh. It lets people see that you are a real person.  After he said that Apple was going to reinvent the phone, Jobs showed a visual of an iPod with an old rotary dial on it. The audience loved it. Humor is so under-valued in presentations. Great presenters leverage it.
4. Create Anticipation.  He began by saying, “This is a day I have been waiting for. Today, we are going to create history.”  Granted, if you preach every Sunday, you can’t “make history” every week. But you can create anticipation. At Preaching Rocket, we teach the practice of creating tension and anticipation in the first five minutes.  Our goal is to make the audience think, “I am SO glad I came to hear this talk.”