Two weeks ago I wrote about my experiences as a virtual Masonic speaker. Like all of us, I have had to adapt to Covid-19, the lockdown and the suspension of Masonic activities. I have also learned very quickly to take my talks online.
Having done so I have found new and bigger audiences. For example, my talk, “The historic links between the Craft, Mark and Royal Arch” for the new Facebook group “Freemasons without Borders” attracted 291 attendees for the live delivery on 23rd June and (so far) 741 views on YouTube.
Early on I decided that online talks are probably better with slides. In a live setting I know I can hold an audience so I had not created visual aids for all my talks. As I often say, I am the presenter, not PowerPoint.
However, in the online setting slides can help keep the audience focused, especially when they are sitting among domestic distractions. So, I have created slide packs with images designed to stimulate and foster curiosity or amusement (and am grateful to Bro. Gerald Sclater for permission to use the following).
I have also found a new interest in some of my older talks, so I have polished and updated, for example, “Seven habits of highly successful Lodges”, “Freemasonry: does it live up to expectations?” and “The Royal Arch – what is it all about?”.
Updating these has also helped me grow. I have gone deeper into my research, gathered more data, read more books and articles and traced more primary sources.
I have also “finished” my latest talk, “What is Freemasonry’s fascination with completion?”, which examines the historic and narrative references to “completion” in the Royal Arch and gives my own interpretation of the deeper meaning of that ceremony. In truth, I suspect it won’t be “finished” until I deliver it and even then I am sure I will continue to develop it.
Whoever said that teaching is a learning experience had it absolutely right. I am polishing my ashlar to help “bring out all that is potentially contained within” and while I am far from perfect I know I am a better man.
I desperately want to get back to real Masonic meetings but in the meantime, virtual gatherings are the best we have. Going forward, I am sure online deliveries will continue to be part of my repertoire.