Picture this scenario: You’re in Sunday School, and the teacher has just given a passionate lesson, full of scriptures and quotes from the prophet and personal testimony, about the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy. Throughout the lesson, she repeatedly invites members of the class to think of ways they could do better at making the Sabbath a holy day for them and their family. At some point, towards the end of the lesson, someone raises their hand, and says something like this (probably in different words, but to the same effect): “This is all true, but we need to remember that we can’t run faster than we have strength. Also, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if we aren’t perfect. God will accept us as we are, and we should remember that. Let’s remember that most of us are probably doing alright.”
Have any of you had this experience? I have, and I suspect many others have too. In fact, I suspect most of us have been in a position where we’ve wanted to make a comment like this. This is because all of us can probably think of ways we could do better at keeping the Sabbath, fasting, missionary work, home teaching, scripture study, loving, praying, or whatever the specific topic of the day is. And since we all know that there are things we can do better (since there always are and always will be), teachers, leaders, and bloggers who remind us of the disparity between our ideals and our practice often incite a hidden guilt within us, a guilt that calls out for reassurance. We realize how truly inadequate we really are, and we want so badly to hear instead that we are doing ok. We sometimes experience these invitations as accusations that we aren’t doing enough. Continue reading
I remember when I was very small—maybe four or five, sitting on a cushioned chapel bench and staring up into Mama’s face during the Sacrament prayer. Her face looked very serious, and her lips moved in sync with the words the priest spoke. Always. I asked her why she did that. She told me it helped her think about the words that were being spoken. As she sat with her head bowed and eyes closed throughout the passing of the bread and water, I thought about the words she had spoken.
Part 4 (Memory) here. Part 3.5 (Using Analogies) here. Part 3 (Style) here. Part 2 (Arrangement) here. Part 1.5 (Sources) here. Part 1 (Invention) here. Part 0 (introduction) here.
Well, it’s been awhile, and despite the title, this is not the last installment.
Delivery is something that can be overdone, and when it is overdone, it ruins the talk.
I’ve seen people with horrid delivery move me to tears and plenty of well-versed orators have left me feeling cold.
The first rule is: The Spirit matters most. The second is: Don’t fake your delivery.
That said, here are some ways you can improve the delivery of your talk without faking it. You don’t have to be trained in public speaking (although that’s always a plus, when not overdone), but there are small things anyone can do to improve the delivery of their talk. And if you have the Spirit in your words, a well-delivered talk can move from very good to great (or even excellent). Continue reading
Part 3.5 (Using Analogies) here. Part 3 (Style) here. Part 2 (Arrangement) here. Part 1.5 (Sources) here. Part 1 (Invention) here. Part 0 (introduction) here.
Sorry this is so late.
Memory is the most overlooked aspect of giving a great talk. Write your talk out (whether by hand or on a computer) and you have it handy. No need to memorize it. At General Conference, the GAs even use teleprompters. So, there’s clearly no need to memorize your talk, right?
Wrong (sort of).
Part 3 here. Part 2 here. Part 1.5 here. Part 1 here. Part 0 here.
Analogies, metaphors, similes, allegories, etc. all can work well in a sacrament meeting talk (or gospel lesson). They can also be where the talk (or lesson) fails completely. Because Jesus taught in parables (which, when asked, Jesus interpreted allegorically), these types of teaching tools have the highest possible endorsement. But caution is also warranted.