As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I have had ample opportunities for public speaking. Members give talks every week in the main hour of church. It is a little nerve-racking and inevitably many of the speakers crack jokes about their unease and inadequacy before a public setting.
It is also a lay ministry, meaning that average members of the church are called upon to serve as teachers and leaders. As the Sunday School President me and my counselors were asked to speak one given Sunday. My counselors were becoming more and more dependable but they did not always come to church. I wasn’t sure if I could count on them to be there so I prepared a longer talk, just in case. I remember the topic was gratitude. When I saw my counselors at church I gratefully trimmed down my words. My counselors, however, did not take all of the time allotted them. I realized I would have 25 minutes to speak. As a youth I could barely muster the 5 minutes given me so this was going to be a stretch. I found that I had lots to be thankful for though, and the time went by quickly.
After publishing my first novel, “Sterling Bridge,” I enjoyed a few speaking engagements. The Sons of Utah Pioneers had me present for 30 minutes. The Historical Society asked me to speak for an hour and then conduct a 30 minute question and answer session. I am happy to say that I did not disappoint on both accounts. I think it was informative not just rambling on and on, but whatever the case I am learning how to communicate both short and long formats.
My book had to be concisely written as a film novel around 100 pages, my next book will be closer to 250 pages. The goal will always be to occupy space and time with meaningful sentiment not just filler words. At some point I will reach my limit for the longest length of a writing project, but as for speaking I think I already have met my limit.