Monday, October 22, 2007

I _____ public speaking

I had to give a talk in church yesterday. I was less than thrilled to say the least. I don't love speaking in church (not many people do, I'm sure). But contrary to what people may think, I don't hate it either. When our bishop called to extend the invitation to me, my first gut-reaction was to say no way! But I was taught that you don't say no, period. So I accepted and chose my topic from a list of 6 possible choices. But as you might have guessed, I didn't give much thought to it the entire week until Saturday afternoon when I sat down and wrote out about two pages of material. When I saw our bishop later that evening, he asked me if I was ready to speak the next day. Again, my gut-reaction was to say no way! But I smiled and said I sure was!
For those of you haters who try as hard as you can to get out of speaking in church, I have a few secrets to share with you. I am in no way an expert on public speaking. All of these were either taught to me at home or learned from my very limited experience.
  • You don't have to be an expert on a subject to give a good talk about it. Use the link on lds.org called "prepare a talk". Type in your topic and voila! You will have a huge assortment of information to chose from. I like to stick to quotes from the apostles and scriptures.
  • Don't give those listening to you in the congregation a reason to tune you out. Don't start off by saying how nervous or scared you are or how much you wish you weren't standing in front of them. Act like you are a expert on the subject because for the next 5-10 minutes you will be if you've stuck to the afore mentioned material (quotes from the apostles and scriptures).
  • I like to type up every word I am planning to say. That way I can keep myself from saying anything dumb and making myself look stupid. I can't think on my feet very well, so I write down every word and try to memorize the sentences (as best as I can). Even if you just stand up there and read from your papers verbatim, if the talk is well written then you've delivered your intended message. No one expects you to be witty or funny or the perfect orator.
  • Most importantly, pray for help. That is a given, obviously. And remember no one is going to come up to you afterwards and say your talk was terrible.
This post is mostly for my benefit. So the next time I'm asked to give a talk, I can remember that I don't hate it, because I always remember that I don't love it.

P.S. The topic I chose was "how to make the most of each day". So I just basically paraphrased Elder Oaks' talk about "good, better and best".

1 comment:

Walt & Jean said...

Good: Walt giving a talk
Better: Jon giving a talk
Best: Tina giving a talk