Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ten Tips for Terrific Talks (Sharing/Singing Times)

This post may not sound like it's geared toward Primary Choristers, but read on and you'll be pleasantly surprised how preparing a talk uses similar steps to preparing a Sharing Time lesson--or even Singing Time!

1. Prepare. The most important preparation comes from the Spirit, and prayer especially should have a high priority. Remember that Sharing/Singing Time should center on Christ and gospel-related topics. In regular, daily prayers you can ask for help.

2. Brainstorm. Review all the ideas that have surfaced during your few days of carrying the subject around in your head. You might have jotted down story titles or descriptions, bits of quotes or scriptures you have remembered, personal experiences, examples, key questions, articles, poems, or hymns.

3. Let ideas incubate. If you have several weeks to prepare, ponder the subject for a few days. As you drive, jog, or walk, consider how your topic can be made relevant to the primary. Sift through your memory for ideas and record them, even if briefly, when they come to mind.

4. Research. Continue gathering material for your subject by going to and other internet sites. (Not all ideas online are appropriate or correct. Check with Primary President or Bishop if you're not sure.)

5. Expand research. Now is a good time to ask family and friends if they have any good ideas to share.

6. Sift and order. Concentrate on refining. You may have far more material than you can use, but you have probably already started to mentally sift through the ideas that appeal to you most.

List broad headings that summarize the various groups of ideas. Don't worry about scratching out and moving ideas at this stage.

Now rearrange these headings in a logical sequence. Decide which material you won't have time to include. Prioritize so that you don't spend 90% of your allotted time approaching the subject, leaving only a few minutes to present the heart of the topic.

7. Prepare an outline. List a heading followed by the items or ideas that come under it.

8. Plan a creative beginning and end. Decide how best to interest the primary from the start. Create readiness to listen by starting with a story, an interesting quote, or a question that will arouse curiosity.

Now look at your ending. Plan a summary of your message, perhaps linking back to your opening thought.

9. The final stage. Time yourself in a practice run. You may be inspired with new ideas or be prompted to use quotes or ideas you previously discarded.

10. Practice makes perfect. The more times you prepare in this way, the easier it becomes. You will probably personalize the method suggested here. You'll do a wonderful job!

Avoid trying to "finish" anything during Singing Time or Sharing Time. STOP to teach, to share a story, or to ask a question. Elder Call taught our stake that "Planning the details of your meeting carefully in advance actually frees us to "feel" and let inspiration guide the meeting--not your outline.

--John F. Cary, "Ten Tips for Terrific Talks," Ensign, December 1993

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