It is a well-established practice to train a preacher before allowing them to ascend the pulpit of a mosque in order to deliver the Friday sermon. However, this training is often limited to the science of the matter, and less so relating to the art of it.
The jurisprudence is well-known, with some differences between the schools of thought. But what do we learn when we look at how the sermon was conducted: its content and method of delivery?
Before we look at this, let us remind ourselves of the main purpose of the sermon:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَىٰ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“O you who have believed, when [the adhān] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday), then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.” 
We can see that the primary objective is the remembrance of Allah or being reminded of Allah.
The 5-step framework
Now, let us turn to the Prophetic way of delivering a sermon.
A narration related to us by Jābir ibn ‘Abdullāh gives us a fascinating insight into it.
Based on this narration, a 5-point framework can be derived for us to follow. 
قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ إِذَا خَطَبَ
“When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) delivered a sermon…” 
1 | Be highly emotive
“…his eyes would turn red…” 
The eyes are a window into the heart.
Research suggests that eyes turning red can be triggered by emotional states, such as higher levels of anger, fear, disgust, and sadness. 
From this, we can ascertain that the Prophet (ﷺ) was highly emotional when delivering his sermon. This is a crucial component of an effective delivery.
It is said that what emanates from the heart is more likely to penetrate the heart. For this reason, an audience is far more likely to be engaged when an emotive sermon is delivered.
This is in stark contrast to what we often see today.
Sermons are commonly delivered based on a script, that is often read or memorised. Sometimes, there is no emotion present whatsoever, or arguably not enough.
This can switch off an audience, and is not conducive to active listening. Rather, it causes the minds of the audience to wander, or to instantly forget what they are being told — think hearing as opposed to listening.
2 | Employ vocal emphasis
“…and he would raise his voice…” 
Raising the voice is normally deemed to be inappropriate in a mosque. We often see signs placed on mosque walls that ask people to keep quiet, or even silent.
However, this does not apply to the orator delivering the sermon.
For that role, communicating louder than normal allows the speaker to be more clearly understood, while also adding emphasis to what is being conveyed. It enables the sermon to be more captivating and is more likely to keep the attention of the audience.
Sadly, it is exceedingly rare to see this practised in our mosques today.
Often, the speaker will communicate at the same level of volume as normal, typically in a monotone voice. This can lead to the audience losing focus or being easily distracted.
3 | Exhibit intense anger
“…and his anger would intensify…” 
In general, anger is to be avoided, as this is an emotional state that can lead to harm. Often, we make mistakes when we are angry and then regret our actions when the feeling subsides, and we return to feelings of calm.
However, anger can also be channelled and harnessed, if it is controlled and deployed in the right circumstances. In this way, research has demonstrated that anger can be a constructive force that leads to positive results. 
The description we find from the narration by Jābir ibn ‘Abdullāh indicates not only the presence of anger in the sermon, but an intensified form of it.
This level of anger can transform the effectiveness of the sermon. It can make the listener realise the severity of the message, the urgency of it, and the critical need for action. Anger can be seen as the pressure that is required to drive a point home, deep into the mind and heart of the listener.
No doubt, this is vastly different to how most sermons are presented today.
The speaker is often calm and casual. We may even find him to be smiling and humorous! This approach may be perfectly fine in another context, but it is at complete odds with the methodology that we observe from this narration. It is likely to lead to a sermon with little meaningful impact, with words that were heard but that which failed to pierce the heart.
4 | Provide a serious warning
كَأَنَّهُ مُنْذِرُ جَيْشٍ يَقُولُ: صَبَّحَكُمْ مَسَّاكُمْ
“…[It was] as if he were warning of an (enemy) army, saying,
‘They will surely attack you in the morning, or they will surely attack you in the evening!’…” 
Imagine that knowledge came to you of an approaching army ready to attack your loved ones. How would you be?
That is the very approach we learn of by this narration. And the analogy makes sense. Death is approaching all of us, the Day of Judgment is near. People are heedless of it. An immediate and serious response is essential. Failure to act appropriately will be disastrous.
The Messenger (ﷺ) held many roles, such as to educate, to be a role-model, to answer questions, to set an example, to lead, and so on. But the key role that is executed with the sermon is to warn.
Warning is of great benefit: it urges us to take heed of severe consequences, brings our attention to dangers that we may have become complacent about, and helps us to correct the wrong path that we may have embarked upon.
But this does not appear to be aligned with the understanding of many delivering sermons today.
The pulpit is often used to teach and educate, more than to remind and warn. Study is an important aspect of religion, but this is not what the sermon is for. We can clearly see that the sermon is supposed to be a passionate and moving admonition, not an academic lesson.
5 | Have a Hereafter focus
وَيَقُولُ “بُعِثْتُ أَنَا وَالسَّاعَةَ كَهَاتَيْنِ” وَيَقْرِنُ بَيْنَ إِصْبَعَيْهِ السَّبَّابَةِ وَالْوُسْطَى
“He would say: ‘I and the Hour have been sent like these two,’ and he would hold his index and middle finger.” 
Where the previous points relate to how to deliver a sermon, this final point relates to what topic to address.
There is no way to make a sermon more powerful than by making the focal point the Hereafter. Our entire life is a preparation for the next, yet it is so easy to forget or lose track of this.
Therefore, the focus of the weekly sermon should be set on reminding the audience of the Hereafter and bringing them back on track to the end goal.
We know from other sources, that the Prophet (ﷺ) would frequently recite from the Qur’ān on the pulpit, Sūrat al-Kahf in particular. 
This Qur’ānic passage is very heavy on the topic of the Hereafter, it addresses no fewer than the following points of benefit:
- Angels recording our deeds
- Need for patience and worship
- Destruction of people before us
- Day of Judgment and its horrors
- Fate of those who denied the truth
- Death and the subsequent resurrection
- Paradise being brought close to the pious
- Blowing of the Trumpet, and gathering of all people
- Throwing of disbelievers into Hell, and how Hell will speak.
These are the very topics that ought to be at the core of the sermon. While they are not the only things to talk about, they should feature prominently.
Regrettably, this is quite the opposite to what we usually hear in the sermons of today.
The topics tend to vary significantly, ranging from history to politics. Sometimes, the topic is jurisprudence or creed. Those topics are meant to be covered in classes, not from pulpits.
The aim of the sermon is to deliver a compelling reminder that moves the hearts and affects the souls!
The 5-step framework can be summarised with the illustration below:
Based on a single narration, we can establish this simple framework to follow with the aim of transforming what is being delivered today into highly effective and powerful sermons that fulfil their aim.
This, it is hoped, can lead to a meaningful impact on the Muslim community who attend the mosque on a weekly basis, in dire need of spiritual nourishment.
We should remember that the sermon is not merely a religious ritual, but rather, it is a divinely ordained act of worship that has an incredibly significant purpose. By following the Prophetic methodology, we can better hope to fulfil that purpose for the betterment of the Muslim Ummah and revive the hearts, by the will of Allah.
 al-Qur’ān, 62:9
 The Emotional Eye: Red Sclera as a Uniquely Human Cue of Emotion – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/eth.12144
 Constructive vs. Destructive Anger: A Model and Three Pathways for the Expression of Anger – https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5074&context=etd