Talk Tips: Avoid Overplayed Illustrations


The typical youth worker spends a great deal of his or her time in front of a group talking.  This article is part of a series of tips to improve your public speaking skills.

If I have to hear about that kid that sits by themselves in the lunchroom one more time, I am going to vomit!  Seriously!  We all have our weaknesses and one of them is definitely slacking in the creativity department with our illustrations.  Yes, that is an apt illustration in some moment, but the best thing in this case is to go cold turkey and stop the insanity.

Make a list of your most used illustrations (your students know them if you don’t) and post them where you can see them, then repeat after me: “I will not use these overplayed illustrations for an entire year.”  Force yourself to be creative, and your students will be more engaged.

What other illustrations have you heard all to often in youth ministry?

What other advice would you give to a youth worker about giving a talk?

About Jeremy Steele

Jeremy serves as the Next Generation Minister at Christ UMC in Mobile, AL. He oversees ministry to teens, young adults and young families, leads an evening worship service, and teaches throughout the church. In addition to his "day job," he spends a good bit of time writing for online and print publications, and writing curriculum for different publishers. He also travels as a speaker and ministry trainer.

One comment

  1. Does this mean I can’t tell the “true” story of the kid walking home from school carrying all his stuff and the other kid inviting him over. Years later finding out the first kid was going home to kill himself and the second kid saved his life? I have heard at least five youth pastors claim that story as having happened in their town.
    Guess I gotta come up with something else!

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