All Things Were Common among Them, Even how They Start Talks

A man delivers a sacrament meeting talk

Ever wondered how to properly start talks? There are many common ways members start sacrament meeting talks. We have all heard and probably done at least a couple of them. After asking what the most popular ways people start talks in sacrament meeting are, this is what we came up with.

1. Webster’s Dictionary Definition

Start talks Using dictionary definitions
Who was Webster and why do we go to him for answers most of the time?

Webster’s used to be the go to dictionary of many members, but several young people now quote from online dictionarys like dictionary.com. If the member is a person with a lot of education, he or she will probably use the Oxford dictionary definition.

2. Bible Dictionary Definition

Start talks with the bible dictionary definition
Don’t you hate it when you look up a word and there is no definition or it just tells you to see another word?

The Bible dictionary is a popular choice. However, sometimes the definitions are really long and people occasionally read definitions that are a few paragraphs long, reading way more than was necessary.

3. Telling a Joke

a meter that explains how funny something is or not
If you are going to tell a joke, test it on a few people before hand to make sure it is actually funny.

About half of the time the jokes are relevant to the topic but the other half they are just used as ice breakers. Some jokes are funny to a few, many, or none. The pity laugh however, is worse than no laugh.

4. Explaining How One Was Called to Speak

A woman telling her friend how she got called to speak - Image via Huffingtonpost.com
I knew I should have ignored that call.

My phone started ringing and I wasn’t sure who it was so I thought about not answering it, but I did and wished I hadn’t.

Or.

I saw the bishop walking towards me in the hall and thought about running away but didn’t. He asked if I could speak in church two weeks from now and I said I would be out of town. Then he said, “What about the next week?” and I said I had a baby blessing to attend. Again he said, “What about the next week?” and I didn’t have any more excuses so I said yes.

5. She Takes Charge of the Introductions

A man meeting a woman on a park bench
When was the last time you heard a man explain how he and his wife met in a talk aside from a member of quorum of the 12?

My husband and I met when we were in college. I was actually more interested in his roommate than him at the time, but he was persistent and had a nice smile.

6. With a Rhetorical Question

Man staring at a large question mark. Image via nlptjc.wordpress.com
If you are going to ask a rhetorical question, try and make it interesting.

These can be both simple questions or long ones. What is Faith? Or. How do we as members of the church live in the world but not become of the world?

7. Explaining the Process of Procrastination

man holding a clock freaking out because he is running out of time. Image via todayfm.com
Why do we wait until the last second to write a talk? Avoid the stress and prepare it early.

I knew the bishop was going to ask me to talk and was going to say no when he asked me. Then, for some reason, I said yes without really thinking about it. As the day got closer and closer, I kept putting it off. Last night I thought I would decide to be sick tomorrow. This morning however, I realized I couldn’t do that to the bishop and threw a talk together.

8. Creating a Personal Parable

Jesus teaching a sermon to a group of people
No one used parables like the Savior when teaching. President Utchdorh has some pretty good airplane analogies though.

Many talks start something like this. Have you ever noticed… and that is how potatoes and faith are similar and what I want to talk about today.

Or

When I was 9, I had a job shoveling snow for a business next door to our home. One day I didn’t want to… That is one of the lessons I still remember to this day about being honest and keeping your word and what I want to talk about today.

9. With the Words of  a Hymn

the music and words for the song amazing grace
If you are going to read the whole hymn, make sure it is relevant.

One of my favorite hymns is ______ and the first line reads… On occasion the person will read a whole verse and rarely he or she will read the entire hymn.

10. With a Quote from a General Authority

A man hiking up a hill with a message about being on the right path

President Benson warns us to beware of pride when he says… I have often thought about the words of Elder Holland when he said…How can we apply those words in our lives today?

11. Explaining the Challenges in Preparing the Talk

man staring at a wall with lots of arrows pointing in different directions. Image via http://www.cmswire.com/
We’ve all started a talk, almost finished it, and then realized we should talk about something else.

The bishopric didn’t assign me a topic so I prayed for guidance and started off preparing something about repentance. I had just about finished when I realized I needed to talk about something else and did some more reading. I ended up with a talk about how to show love to our fellow men.

12. Stating One’s Nervous and Apologizing Beforehand

man nervously breathing in a bag to calm down
At some point or other, most people get nervous talking in front of a crowd. Some even pass out.

I don’t like talking in church or public. I never have. I thought about telling the bishop this when he asked me to talk but didn’t. So, I am sorry if I don’t make sense or if my talk seems poorly prepared. I just don’t do well speaking in front of people. I hope you will bear with me for the next few minutes.

What are some common ways that you have heard people use when starting a talk that we may have missed?

Abe is always aspiring to be awesome. It wasn't until he started to go bald that he finally started to realize that goal. When that happened, he realized his writing, and life, drastically improved. He enjoys writing, growing his facial hair, and many other pursuits. Abe is a Professional and Creative Writing Major and an intern with LDS.net