Preparing powerful sacrament meeting messages

Speakers in sacrament meeting should take on the role of the Savior in providing “living water” to those who hear their message, said Celeste Elain Witt, instructor of public speaking at BYU during her Aug. 18 presentation at BYU Campus Education Week.

“As people are coming into sacrament meeting, they’re thirsty,” said Sister Witt, who is also a communications consultant and speech coach. “Everyone comes so thirsty. How are you going to quench it?”

To accomplish this task, Sister Witt guided her audience through a five-step writing process in hopes of helping them create “laser-focused” messages.

“Those in the congregation want the message that you give to be accessible,” she said. “It has to be able to be captured by your audience.”

First, Sister Witt said speakers should refine the topic given to them by priesthood leaders, which is usually generic, to have a greater impact.

“If you don’t narrow your topic, you will be searching for information for way too long,” she said. “If you narrow your topic properly, the other steps will naturally flow.”

Methods she suggested to help narrow a topic included personal experiences and a specific event or challenge facing the ward audience.

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