I did my last presentation to the RCIA group last night. During the post-reception-into-the-Church period there's a set of "Christian Living" talks themed around the chapters in the US Catholic Catechism For Adults on the ten commandments. I had been assigned the 6th and 9th commandments.
So there I was, the one delegated to get up in front of 20 new members of the Church and talk about sex.
You think of giving a talk as being a fairly uni-directional interaction, but this situation in particular gave me a chance to think on how much audience reaction affects you as the speaker/teacher. The middle-aged husband at the second table nodding and taking notes in a spiral bound notebook urged me on to explain more fully. The woman staring out the window and idly turning her cell phone over in her hands caused me to fear I was failing to persuade or be clear. I was inordinately grateful for the enthusiasm of the young college-age couple -- Scott Hahn fans who after the talk told me they were hoping to have a Christopher West study group with their Christian Fraternity.
At the end of an hour I wrapped things up and asked if there were any questions. Silence stretched out. Given the topic, I'd expected that. So we closed with a prayer and I made a beeline for the coffee pot.