“No” is the answer to an age old question

My wife gave me The Look. And then she whispered: “Is nothing sacred?”

On Saturday evening we were in church. Our priest had just finished his homily. I was born and raised Catholic and I’ve sat through many, many, many homilies. Most of them have been forgettable. But not this time. Not last Saturday night.

And of course I wanted to highlight the key elements of this presentation in a blog post. Apparently, nothing really is sacred.

Fr. John began his sermon by examining a candle. He made the point that when it’s not lit a candle will keep its shape and form for a long, long time… but it’s not very useful. When it’s lit, however, it becomes one of the most useful objects on the planet, illuminating paths, bringing light to darkness and enabling people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. Of course, lighting a candle also takes its toll on the candle.

This sermon immediately got me thinking about two things related to presentations:

1)      Sometimes a prop can be the best visual aid. In a world where PowerPoint (or Keynote or Prezi) is the cornerstone of every presentation, I was captivated by the simplicity of the visual aid that Fr. John chose to use. A candle. It was different. It was a powerful metaphor. It was simple. And it was incredibly memorable.

2)      Candle as a metaphor for presenters. Sure, Fr. John had a different point in mind, but I think that the candle is a powerful way to describe presenters. What kind of candle best represents your presentation style? Do you throw together a presentation because you have to or because you were asked to or because it’s what you’ve always done? Are you too busy to give of yourself in order to make sure your audience has an illuminating experience? Or are you ignited by the passion to share your thoughts and expertise and creativity with your audience? Are you willing to give of yourself and serve as the flame from which your audience can also ignite their own passions and desires to do new things or different things or to do things better?

2 thoughts on ““No” is the answer to an age old question

  1. Thanks for sharing this thought, Brian. Props are certainly powerful and memorable, because they’re so different as you say.

    I wrote about their use as part of (what Nancy Duarte calls) STAR moments, here. (STAR means “Something They’ll Always Remember”.)

    As always, would love to hear your thoughts on that content, and by all means leave a backlink there to one of your posts.

    P.S. If you ever want to illustrate the title of your post on a slide, check out my own latest post. (I hope that’s intriguing enough for you!)

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