I was rummaging around looking for a factoid about the differences between men’s and women’s brains when lo and behold, I found Mark Gungor. He’s a pastor with a difference. He’s a marriage guidance counsellor … with a difference. And his difference is laughter. And, from my perspective, professionalism.
I remember my mother-in-law telling me that the one piece of advice she took from a 2-day pre-marital counselling course [50 years ago!] was to always paint the number of your house on your bin, so that you would never end up in a dispute with the neighbours over who owned which bin. 37 years later, the course I attended with my betrothed was probably a little better in its delivery, but its content hadn’t evolved a whole heckuva lot.

Enter Mark Gungor. Knowledge, passion, verve, professionalism, seeking to please his audience, seeking to really inform his audience. Ultimately seeking to equip his audience with the tools, knowledge and determination to effect changes in their lives.

The stage is a strong, simple setup, which helps position the ideas. A woman’s bust on the left side, a man’s over on the right. Pleasing, familial backdrop [interesting columns off to the side though]. Strong, clear repetition and reinforcement of his ideas. And the whole thing underpinned with laughter to lock the messages home. This piece is from his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar:

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Okay, nitpitcks:
  • I’m not sure why he’s using any PowerPoint at all, but I’m pretty sure that no-one past the second row can read it from that little itty-bitty screen. He should have a big-ass screen hanging from the chimney breast behind him – it looks like there are about 700 people in that room. [Update: I just heard from Mark, who tells me that there are indeed big-ass screens either side of the stage, they just don’t show on the video]
  • When he does use PowerPoint in this piece (and in the other clips on his YouTube Channel) he reads from the screen. This is the only moment I ever see him disengage from his audience and it’s such a shame. He needs a nice low-lying 17″ laptop up at the front of his stage, or if he’s using a fair bit of Slideware, he could go all Steve on us and use a setup like this:

  • When Mark uses his remote clicker, there’s a long lag before it advances the slide [Vista maybe or a cruddy PC with an entry-level Video Card?] and sometimes he has to contort himself to get the remote to work [batteries low or poor line-of-sight to the PC?] Either way, these are nuisance factors which shouldn’t be there. Mark is more than enough of a pro that these don’t throw him off his stride, and he obviously has his material down cold, but they are hiccups in the otherwise perfect flow.
  • My wife didn’t like the falsetto female voice that he uses, but that may be a cultural thing; I thought he captured the essence of the comic delivery really well.

I can hear it now. Standard objection number one:

  • “I can’t present like that. I’m an engineer presenting schematics of a bridge to my boss. It’s no laughing matter. If I get a number wrong the bridge will collapse and people will die. I can’t present like that!”
  • “I’m a group financial controller … “
  • “I’m a tort lawyer … “
  • “I’m a physics lecturer … “

Yes you can.

Subtract the laughter. Subtract the Judy Garland impersonation [it’s in a piece called ‘Rainbow’ – do treat yourself]. Subtract the over-the-top, comedic body language, which works in Mark’s setting but won’t work in yours. Subtract all that and what have you got? Energy. Movement. Enthusiasm. Professionalism. Really knowing your stuff. Passion.

That is all.