“Idea List: Tips for Terrific Talks,” New Era, July 2004, 11
For many people, speaking in front of others is their greatest fear. As members of the Church, we have many opportunities to speak. The following ideas can help you prepare and deliver a meaningful talk. Remember: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).
Start thinking about your topic as soon as you are asked to speak. Don’t procrastinate.
Pray for insight and inspiration.
Identify the gospel principles involved in your topic and how they can bring your listeners to Christ.
Research your topic. Use the words of modern and ancient prophets—from conference and the scriptures—as your primary sources.
Plan to start your talk by capturing your listeners’ attention. Sharing a personal experience is a good way to begin and focus your topic.
Explain how the principles being discussed will bless your listeners’ lives and bring them closer to the Lord.
After explaining the principles, teach how to put them into practice.
Remember you are worshipping the Lord, not trying to impress the congregation.
As much as possible, maintain eye contact with various listeners throughout the talk.
Let your own voice come through—your emotions, your reactions, your testimony.
Resist the urge to race. Speak steadily and clearly. Every word is important.
Read the scriptures as real words, the way the writer would have spoken them.
Sincere testimony is the most important part of every talk. Let the Spirit speak through you to the hearts of your listeners.