1. Presentation
  2. Theology
  3. Prophesy
Presentation: A good preacher is a good presenter. Being a good presenter is hard work - there's a lot that goes in to presenting well, but it's vitally important to preaching well. It doesn't really matter what you've got to say if you can't present it clearly and hold the audience's attention. But, on the positive side this is not that hard to learn, and it mostly just takes practice and attention. There are plenty of courses that teach presentation skills. Some are better than others, and some are more applicable to the act of preaching, but it's pretty easy to find a good course somewhere near you.

Theology: It's all well and good to be a captivating speaker, but you have to know what you're talking about. A good sermon must be based on good theology. Thankfully, like presentation skills, theology can be learnt. It's more work than learning how to present, but it's also easier to prepare for and make use of external references. For any particular topic, there will (typically) be a good supply of books and articles available to draw on. So, as long as you put the work in to think it through and understand the range of Christian thinking on the topic, it's easy enough to prepare (much more so than the presentation side)

Prophesy: You need to have a message worth delivering. This is absolutely the hardest part (at least for me, and I think also for many others). I can work out what a bible passage is saying, and I can find a way to convey that to my audience, but there needs to be a reason for them to care (beyond simply developing a better understanding of the word of God). And it needs to be more than just an "application" - at the very least it needs to be a relevant application to where the audience is with God - but even more so, it needs to be a message that moves people, that stirs something up inside them, that prompts them to make a change, to do something different, to grow in Godliness. And finding that kind of message for whatever passage you've been asked to speak on is hard work (and doesn't always happen)

Getting all 3 right is hard work, and I think very few preachers succeed. Even those that have the skills in all 3 areas struggle to have all 3 firing at the same time.
I've listened (or tried to listen) to preachers who knew their bible really well, and who had an important message to give, but didn't know how to hold the audience's attention, or how to explain their message in simple enough terms to capture the hearts and minds of the audience.
I've heard plenty of dynamic exciting preachers who stirred up the emotions, but never actually said anything of substance. Or preachers who set a challenging message, presented with relevant illustrations and a clear delivery, but without any substantial reference to the bible, and ultimately no evidence to back-up their message.

I've started to think more about those 3 areas as I prepare and think through my sermons. I used to shy away from employing the presentation skills I had learned from the workforce, because I thought that preaching was "different" - and it is different - but those skills can still be applied very effectively to preaching in a church (or other gathering)

So, why do I say preaching is different?
I could make those 3 points  more generic and say:
  1. Presentation
  2. Knowledge
  3. Vision
Presentation stays the same. Theology becomes "knowledge" - you need to know the topic you're speaking on, at least to the point that you know your material as well, or better than, the general audience. Prophesy becomes "vision" - you need to be pointing somewhere, and have something worth saying.

So why haven't I used those words? Why wrap this up in specific "preaching" terminology? I have a few reasons, but my main one is this:
Prophesy is more than vision, and theology is more than knowledge. It's not simply having a visionary message - it's having a message from God. The preacher needs to be mindful that they're not simply looking for a good idea, or a rallying message - they need to be looking for the direction in which God is leading.