4 Tips For Preparing Talks

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For many people, preparing talks each week can be a very daunting task. From coming up with material to finding clever ways to present it, speakers, preachers, or volunteers can stress heavily over preparing talks. I’d like to share a few thoughts that may be helpful in creating and crafting your next talk. Aside from prayer, working through these steps will help anyone deliver a very meaningful and purposeful presentation.

What Is The Main Thought?

When creating your message, consider what the main thought is to be. Can you boil it down to a theme or topic? Can you succinctly state what you want your listeners to get out of hearing you? There’s nothing more important than knowing your own thesis and theme. When you know your thesis, you can weed out the unnecessary or trivial. Don’t include it if it doesn’t add value to your talk. Clear the clutter. Write your main thought in one sentence. Limit it to a few words…think: “is it tweetable” (can it be said in 140 characters or less)?

What Is The Main Text?

Sometimes when we are leading through talks, sermons or messages, the topic will be defined by the text. Other times, the main thought will need to have definitive text to inform the topic. As you read through different texts, be sure to research the texts, using commentaries, differing translations and books. If possible find a key text and then surround other verses to support your main topic or thesis. As you prepare, remember to pray and seek out cultural and contextual nuances of the passage. Context is essential in communicating truth.

What Is The Main Tie-In?

When I speak I always try to find a tie-in, something that can communicate and reinforce what I have been saying. This could be a song, video, object lesson or personal story. Finding supportive stories or relevant anecdotes will not only tie your talk together but also tie-in your audience in as they relate to common shared experiences. Don’t overwhelm your talk with stories, jokes, or videos. Make sure that the ones you choose are going to be powerful and meaningful. Loop back often to your main thought because that’s what you want people to tie your story to.

What Is The Main Take Away?

Knowing what you want people to walk away with and how to apply the talk is crucial for success. As the speaker, preacher, it’s essential that you give the people actionable, measurable ways to use what you have just spent valuable time talking about. Whether it’s something they can do personally or in community, directing people on how to use what they now know is the best way to close out a talk. What people hear can change their thinking, what people experience can change their lives. So make sure you strive to put the talk to work in daily life scenarios.

Those are some of my tips for crafting a talk. What ways work best for you? Share some of your ideas in the comments.

DSC_0595George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves on staff as the mission coordinator and creative arts pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA

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