I also enjoy public speaking because sharing my insights is exciting. I prepare my speeches, talks, and lessons in advance so I know exactly what I'm going to say. Church talks I always write out word for word to ensure I don't forget anything and so it's coherent and cohesive. As a teen, I would practice my talks until I practically had them memorized.
Due to the increased focus on making the Sabbath a delight and sacrament meeting more spiritually fulfilling, our branch president told us he wanted us to have only an outline for our talks and to lean on the Spirit for guidance. Only once have I ever used just an outline. It was September 2006 in my college ward for a talk about how to prepare for general conference, a topic easy to expound with just notes.
Two weeks ago I was asked to speak in sacrament meeting the following Sunday (last week). I decided to try the new preparation style since the topic was simple. I read the talk several times and highlighted on my tablet the portions I wanted to read. I inserted short notes and a couple extra quotes. It didn't take me long to finish. I felt like I wasn't as prepared as normal.
I decided to fast that Sunday to be closer to the Spirit, especially since I also had to teach Sharing Time and my son's Primary class. I asked my husband for a blessing the night before as well. Once at church, I was very nervous and emotional.
I started with the disclaimer that I hadn't written out my talk, so I would probably fumble over my words. I did a little in the beginning. After that, it went very well. I never cry during talks and only rarely during testimonies, but I got very emotional this time during certain parts. I shared more personal experiences and applications than I normally do. The branch seemed to be more engaged as well, probably because I didn't sound as intellectual as usual. My approach was more relatable and inviting. I received many compliments afterward, more than I ever have in this branch.
I can't say I received any promptings while I was at the podium, and I do think you can be inspired while you write a talk. Still, it was a very unique and uplifting experience. I think I'm going to do all my talks like this from now on and save the intellectual essays for this blog.
Sharing Time: How do you like to prepare and give talks? Is there one that ended up being a meaningful experience for you?
Title from D&C 50:17-22