How to Prepare a Talk

“How to Prepare a Talk,” Tambuli, June 1987, 6

How to Prepare a Talk

In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Report, April 1951, page 154.)

One of the ways that we can serve others is by cheerfully doing the things we are asked to do at church. Learning to serve willingly helps us to prepare for missionary work. We can help with service projects, offer prayers, and give talks. When we give a talk, we are teaching others. Teaching is one of the important things that missionaries do—they explain what they know about the gospel to others.

Here is a four-part formula that you can use to prepare a talk:

1. Opening—Tell what your talk is about.

2. Example—Give a scripture story, a personal experience, or a verse of scripture.

3. Use—Tell how we can use the main idea of the talk.

4. Closing—Give a summary, including your own feelings about the topic.

Here is an activity to help you practice:

1. Cut out topic cards and picture cards along heavy lines; color pictures. On a table spread picture cards faceup and topic cards facedown.

scripture drawings

Illustrated by Kay Stevenson and Shauna Mooney

(Jonah 1–3.)

(Matt. 14:22–33.)

(Luke 15:8–10.)

(JS—H 1:5, 10, 14–19.)

(3 Ne. 12:43–44; 3 Ne. 13:14.)

2. Turn over a topic card and say, “My talk is about. …” Look up and read the scripture, briefly tell in your own words who the story is about and what happened, then look for the picture card that best illustrates the story.

3. Explain why the main principle of your talk is important today. Describe ways of using that principle to improve your own life, and encourage others to make use of it in their lives. The most important part of your talk is when you tell what you know and how you feel. People will understand you best if you speak slowly and look into their eyes.

4. Close by saying something like, “I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Illustrated by Julie Young