Overcoming the Fear of Speaking or Teaching a Lesson

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright 2000

Dear Annette,

I received my calling as a Relief Society President about six months ago, but I am still struggling with that calling as it is hard for me to stand and conduct in front of others let alone give a lesson every quarter, I will teach my first one in January and I am stressing already. I do love each of the sisters in our ward and honestly have a desire to serve them.


Dear Stressed RS President,

Perhaps you would be less stressed if you were to invite the Lord to bear the burden and help you to say what needs to be said. In D&C 42:14, we are told that we are not to teach unless we have the spirit.

I also realize you can teach with the spirit, but still be super stressed. I had the same problem too until I asked the Lord to take away the monster butterflies that were trying to carry me away. Just ask the Lord to help you to be able to teach with the spirit, help you will have a clear mind, to know what He wants you to say, and to stop the fear. Of course you will need to have your speech/lesson down pat and have outline to go by.

Be sure to practice it out loud as this is different that just reading it. Somehow speaking out loud tend to become a whole different language that the one you were just silently reading. Do this several times until you can calmly go through the whole thing.


Many people enjoy working with outlines that are visible by the class they are teaching. It keeps the teacher on task and keeps the class interested.

Use topic strips which posted on paper big enough for the sisters to see to keep them interested. Use only Black, Red, or Blue letters as these colors can be seen far away! The strips can be generated by computer or by magic marker & you!

There are lots of ways to get the strips to stick on the board. The neatest way I have seen is disc magnets. I didn't know that the church chalk boards are magnetized. See if your is too. It sure beats trying to fumble with tape! Tacky putty for posting things is good too, but I still like the magnets best.

When I was on Wood Badge Scout staff we used flip boards to give lessons. These were large sized paper which were attached together at the top with a spiral wire.

You can get these at office supply stores. These are set on a tall easel which most of the church libraries have or you can set them on the chalk tray.

Every time a subject changed we flipped the chart.

The flip charts were arranged with the main idea at the top of the chart and then the most important sub-topics became bullets under the title. Using the bullets we discussed the main idea. As one idea was covered we would flip the page to the next major idea and discuss it's bullets. In this way the chart became our outline.

We magic markered everything on the chart, but you could computer generate the type and use stick glue to put the word strips in place on the chart.

If I have not covered the subject adequately or you have more questions please write me again.

 Best wishes,

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage

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