Are you scared, nervous, exited, or clueless about giving your farewell talk? There is no need to sweat as long as you allow time for preparation. Just follow the 10 tips for giving a powerful farewell talk below.
We’ve all enjoyed powerful farewell talks that inspire and uplift but unfortunately we have all sat through others that are boring and inappropriate.
The difference between a good talk and a bad talk has more to do with feelings than words. Your audience needs to feel that you are genuine, that you are focused, and, most of all, that you can invite the Spirit to the meeting.
This is your opportunity to show your family, friends, ward members, and the Lord that you are truly ready to serve. Start your mission off right by making your farewell talk something you are proud of.
10 TIPS FOR A POWERFUL FAREWELL TALK:
Be authentic: Remember, you are a child of God that is worthy and prepared to serve Him. He called you directly to His work. He trusts you. So share what is real about you—your deepest thoughts and feelings about serving. This isn’t a comedy show or a time to impress people with anything other than your desire to serve. You are who you are and that’s what people want to see.
Cover the assigned topic: If you can’t stick to the topic assigned to you by the Bishopric, or the one you picked for yourself, what does that say about your ability to stick to the call you received from the Lord? Do significant research and preparation on the topic so you can speak about it in a simple and doctrinally sound way. Try to relate the topic it to personal events and life lessons you have learned in preparing for a mission.
Use scriptures and quotes from General Authorities: Rather than only giving your own thoughts, share applicable scriptures and quotes to help your audience learn something they can apply personally. Having a personal effect on others is done by inviting the Spirit and allowing it to touch their hearts. By sharing doctrine from scripture and words of modern-day prophets, you invite the Spirit to testify of their truths.
Share a personal story: Relevant stories are always a great way to capture the attention of listeners. They can also help your audience come to know you in a personal way. Your story needs to have a beginning, middle and end. It should be brief (1–3 minutes) and (as mentioned earlier) it should always be relevant and on topic.
Focus on inspiring NOT entertaining: Do not tell inappropriate jokes or make too many references to popular culture. These types of comments can detract from the Spirit and lead your audience away from the reason you are standing before them. Help your audience know now that you are already focused on your mission.
Share why you are going on a mission: Your audience wants to know you are converted and committed to the work. Don’t be afraid to share the most genuine reasons why you are becoming a full-time missionary. This will touch the hearts of your family and friends and could positively influence another young man or woman who is considering serving.
Share how you decided to serve a mission: One of the basic skills you will learn as a missionary is how to briefly tell investigators about when you gained a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. When you do this, you are modeling for your investigators “how” to gain a testimony. Similarly, by sharing how you decided to serve, you will model for others what they can do to confidently make a decision about serving.
Avoid long lists of “thank yous”: A few mentions of gratitude are just fine. By all means, you should be thanking close family for all they have done for you. However, too many “thank yous” will distract from the valuable lessons and insights that come from inviting the Spirit and staying on topic.
End on time: In public speaking, going overtime is a sin. Be sure to prepare your material at least a couple days in advance and commit to at least two timed practice runs. If you find you have too much material, cut something out and time yourself again. You should also mark certain sections of your talk that you are willing to cut out on–the–fly.This is crucial when you are the final speaker and have been left with only five minutes.
Bear a genuine testimony: There is absolutely no better way to invite the Spirit and touch the lives of others than a genuine testimony of the gospel. Share what you really know to be true and how you came to you know it. Allow the Spirit to guide your words but don’t ramble. Be bold and succinct in what you declare.
You can see that applying these tips means you will need time to prepare in advance. Preparation is the key to succeeding at almost anything and it certainly is crucial to public speaking.
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain