Talk Tips: Know it in a Sentence

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.

One of my favorite professors of all time (Dr. Julie Gorman at Fuller) said something that I will never forget:  If you don’t know what you want to teach well enough to say it in one sentence, you don’t know it well enough. So true.  I have sat through way too many lessons (and sermons) that made me confused because the point was never clearly articulated.

Take a second before you teach and ask yourself:  what do I want them to know?  Then, whittle it down until you have it in a sentence.  THEN (and only then!) build your lesson around that concept making sure all of your ideas and illustrations tie in and support that point.  And, it doesn’t hurt to actually say that sentence a couple of times during the lesson either.


  1. I have always been surprised that more youth work courses don’t have a class in public speaking.

    i know many do up front presentations in their courses but to have a dedicated subject would be helpful. i had to do many short courses and even joined toastmasters to get my speaking on track. sad to say a lot of the guys i work with still need a lot of help.

    great article.

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