I gave them each a problem or concern specific to young women today. Then I asked them to find 5 scriptures that had to do with that topic and to write a talk, share their testimony, and include the scriptures as support.
I was amazed at how fast they were, how wonderful their ideas were and how sweet and touching the testimonies they wrote were. And now they have a ready made talk! 🙂 I think it helped them to realize that they could use the scriptures, have fun researching and looking things up, and that they could write their own talk, not have to read something from the New Era, when called upon to speak.
We did this for our Sunday lesson on scripture study but I’m sure you could vary it and have fun with it as a weekday activity as well.
How To Give a GREAT Talk
1) Be prepared.
If you were not given a topic to speak on then you need to choose one. And you should do so prayerfully. Pray and look over all your possible topics before you jump into writing your talk. Who are you speaking to? Whodo you want to reach? And finally, what point does your Heavenly Father want you to make for Him? Also, NEVER read a talk. People hate to be read to! Unless it’s a quote or story, have your talk memorized and be familiar with it. You’ll be more relaxed and comfortable. The audience can tell if you’re comfortable or not so be confident.
2) Make it flow.
Every talk, whether it’s 2 or 20 minutes long, should have a beginning, middle and end. In the beginning have an attention getter. Grab your audience by making them laugh, telling an emotional story or starting off with a great quote. Then, announce your topic. In the middle, tell your story. Make a point. Have a definite point when you begin and make sure any stories or quotes you might include agree with your topic. And, depending on your subject, you may choose to make the audience laugh again. Finally, in the end, reemphasize your point. Make sure you tie your ending to the beginning so your talk is a
continuous circle of knowledge and information for your audience. Bear your
testimony and close.
3) Get the scoop.
Find some interesting facts, stories, and quotes or poems to include in your talk that correspond with the scriptures you will be using. It adds interest and excitement to an otherwise simple talk.
The way you present your talk is a reflection of your attitude. If you seem disinterested in the topic then your audience will, too. Be animated. Be relaxed. And don’t be afraid to be different. Everyone can get up and say out loud the talk they have memorized. But how much fun is it to get up and give your talk while making the audience smile, frown, laugh or even cry? If any of that is accomplished, then your satisfaction will be tremendous
when you walk away from the podium.
5) Why not?
Why not go ahead and be extra prepared by making talks ahead of time? Then, when the time comes you have a talk and all the work needed is to familiarize yourself with it. It really helps, especially when you have a busy schedule, to have a talk or quote or scripture file to refer to.
Remember….Have fun! You can do it!
“Ezra Taft Benson said that the atonement was the greatest single event in human history.”
“Websters dictionary defines atonement as _________, but as part of the
restored gospel it is ____________.”
“The word atonement can be visually divided into three parts ‘at,’ ‘one,’
you could start with a poem, story, words from a hymn,
scripture, quote, etc. and follow up with a segue like:
“It is clear that the atonement of Christ was known by all the prophets from Adam to the present.”
The talk should be so well-rehearsed that it is *almost* memorized. It *is* boring to watch the top of someone’s head for ten minutes! The speaker needs to have the *appearance* eye contact. Look up! You don’t actually have to look at people if it makes you feel uncomfortable, you can look just above their heads. And remember not to ignore certain portions of the room. Look occasionally to each side.
If you are rehearsed you can easily glance down at the paper occasionally to keep on track or read a quote. The beginning and ending of each paragraph (or poem, etc.) should be memorized so that you are looking at the audience while speaking and “keep the with you” through the transition.
Don’t say things like, “I didn’t have much time to prepare my talk…” or “I don’t know much about the atonement…” because you’re basically telling everyone “I have nothing to contribute so I’m going to waste your time for the next ten minutes.” If that is the case you shouldn’t be up there. 🙂
Don’t make light of serious/sacred topics. I have heard jokes that were inappropriate told just to get a laugh. Sometimes it wasn’t even that the joke or story was bad, but in light of a sacred topic, the timing was bad.
And jokes, stories that are used to grab attention should have *some* relation to the actual topic.
My mother-in-law shared something with family members this past weekend that
I thought I’d pass along. She said, “Giving a Talk is easy. Just remember:
E – Share an EXPERIENCE
A – APPLY it to a Gospel Principle
S – Use the SCRIPTURES to reinforce the principle
Y – Bear YOUR testimony
*EYE CONTACT! Look up at the congregation. No one wants to stare at the top of your head. If you can’t look in people’s eyes, look at the tops of their heads (they can’t tell the difference). Also be aware to look at those on the sides, not just in the center.
*Avoid distracting affectations. (Swaying, nervous giggling, hand wringing, hair twirling/flipping/brushing, lip-licking, etc.)
*Use good diction and correct pronunciation.
*Vary your inflection so that you don’t drone–and so that you can be heard over the screaming children!
*Don’t feel compelled to open with a joke, but if you use humor make sure it is tasteful, not making light of sacred things, and that it is actually **relevant to the topic.** (ie don’t just slip it in for the sake of a laugh or for shock value.)
*Use material from authoritative sources. In other words, don’t preach non-doctrine, opinion, hearsay, etc.!
*Memorize the first few words and the last few words of every paragraph as well as the bottom and top of every page and maintain eye contact during those portions. The former helps keep the audience with you while you change topics, the latter helps make the page
turns less obtrusive.
*Practice your speech almost to the point of memorization, so that you need only to glance down occasionally at your notes to keep you on track and so that you don’t forget important points.
*If there are parts that you can tell without writing them down in detail, include an outline to ensure that the order of events and important details are not forgotten. (“Oh, I forgot to tell you, *before* we had our daughter, we got married…”)
*Include the full text of your references *in the text of your speech.* Don’t lug your scriptures and Doctrines of Salvation and The Encyclopedia of Mormonism or any of your other reference material to the pulpit and expect listeners to wait with bated breath while you fumble around because your toddler moved your bookmark or the zipper
on your scripture cover got stuck. 😀 Write down both the reference and the text in your talk and read them from your paper, not from the original source.
And now for my major pet peeve:
*Don’t introduce the assigned topic of your talk! (“Good morning brothers and sisters. I’ve been asked to speak about the atonement…”) If we can’t tell what you are talking about, then you need to rewrite your speech! 😀