Friday, September 9, 2011

Giving a presentation on WYD

So you are back from your WYD pilgrimage and you are wondering how to share this experience with others.  Well most likely you have been asked or have volunteered to give a presentation after Mass in the next few weeks.  Whilst some of you might not be a great public speaker, people want to hear about your experience so here are a few tips for your presentation:

1. Who you were before WYD pilgrimage: you may only get five minutes to give your presentation so everything has to be really tight.  Instead of a long introduction about who you are and what you do, use your introduction to share what you were like before you went to WYD.  For example "before WYD I was a uni student who knew I was Catholic but never understood why I was Catholic, hello my name is ..... and I want to share some my WYD experience with you today".

2. List of some of the places you visited: some people want give an in depth analysis of every place they visited but this is very boring for the audience.  You can give a simple list of the places that you visited to give the audience a quick overview or context for the pilgrimage.  This will really help set up the next part of your presentation if you use a bridging phrase such as "and now I wish to share a highlight from one of these towns"

3. Share one touching story: Again you don't have time to tell everything about you pilgrimage so give one (only one) really good account of why the pilgrimage was so valuable.  
  • Tell a story about one location that you visited that "changed your life".  
  • Or tell a story about one event that really touched you and why. 
  • Or tell one story that highlights the sense of community on pilgrimage
  • Or tell one story that explains the spiritual enlightenment you experienced on pilgrimage.
4. How have you changed because of the Pilgrimage: people want to know the effect of the WYD pilgrimage, so share how you have changed your perspective of life, spirituality, church or vocation because of the pilgrimage.  This could come out of the previous section of your talk.  Every talk should finish strongly and the most powerful finish is to share how you have changed.  

Whilst four sections doesn't sound like a lot if you only have five minutes then this is enough.  Here are a few things to remember in your presentation:

  • Don't say you are not a good public speaker - people will know you are not a expert public speaker but they want to hear from a confident person.  Don't loose the audience by beginning with a comment about how you are nervous or you don't normally speak in public.
  • Begin with confidence - you have the power of the Holy Spirit with you; so begin with the confidence that you have a great story to share.
  • Look at the entire audience - don't just look at the piece of paper in front of you.  Engage the audience by looking at them.  Look from left to right, from the front row to the back row.
  • Watch the clock; keep to the time - it is the role of the speaker to stick to the allotted time, not for someone in the audience to ask you to wrap it up.  If you have been given five minutes then stick to the five minutes.
  • Finish well and people will remember what you said.
  • Use the screens wisely - the best way to use the screens in the church is to show only one or two photos while you talk; a revolving slide show or video will distract the audience from what you are saying.  The best tip is to put the slideshow on before mass or before you speak rather than during your talk.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The evangelisation opportunity of Zara

Those of us that travelled to Madrid for WYD had a great time.  Whilst we were there for the World Youth Day experience, no one can deny the amazing shopping available in Madrid.  Perhaps you came home with one or two items, perhaps you came home with one of two extra kilos. Now before you go hiding those clothes away because you were meant to be there for WYD, did you ever think about the evangelisation opportunity that these new clothes or shoes will provide you?

Recently I was wearing a jacket that I had bought at Zara in Madrid when someone commented about how nice the jacket was.  When I told them that I picked it up in Madrid they then asked me about what I was doing in Madrid.  At this point I was able to begin a conversation with someone about WYD and my experience of God that I would never have been able to raise if it wasn't for the jacket.  

So when you wear the clothes or shoes that you picked up in Madrid wear them with pride because they may provide you with an opportunity to evangelise.  The trick is not to become an evangelist of Zara but to use the clothes to talk about WYD.