- Adoration: Prepare your presentation in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Go over your talk with God, and He will place new inspirations on your heart. Spend time in adoration before (and after) the presentation. To find an adoration chapel near you, click here. Mother Teresa often prayed the Fragrance Prayer and her Prayer Before Leaving for the Apostolate. Do the same.
- Mass: Before your presentation, try to attend a morning Mass. To find Mass times near where you’re speaking, click here. Offer up the Mass for your audience and their families. In the words of St. John Chrysostom, “The Eucharist is a fire that inflames us, that, like lions breathing fire, we may retire from the altar being made terrible to the devil.”
- Confession. If possible, receive the sacrament of reconciliation at some point in the days preceding your presentation.
- Entrustment. Consecrate your presentation to Our Lady. Mother Teresa often prayed what she called the express novena. She knew that it was so powerful that she would pray it—not so much in petition for something—but in thanksgiving for the fact that she knew she was going to obtain it. It consisted of praying the Memorare nine times in a row. Memorize this prayer and pray it before each talk in thanksgiving for the conversions that will take place.
- Guardian Angels. In 2 Kings 6, a great battle is described. In the midst of it, a servant approached the prophet Elisha, crying out in despair that their troops were vastly outnumbered. Elisha knew that God would deliver them and he was aware of a spiritual presence that the servant wasn’t. He said, “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” He then prayed, “O Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.” Before the servant’s eyes, he suddenly beheld the mountain filled with fiery horses and chariots around Elisha. The angelic warriors led them to complete victory. Everyone has a guardian angel, but we rarely call to mind their constant presence or invoke their powerful intercession. Before your presentation, pray to your guardian angel. You could ask him to lead a Rosary with all of the guardian angels of every student and teacher present in the auditorium throughout the duration of your talk. Even if a student is an atheist, he still has a guardian angel. Therefore, it is wise to take advantage of this heavenly host. As Christians, we must never overlook this legion at our side.
- Holy Spirit. Pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of apostolic preaching. Ask for the eloquence of speech of St. Anthony of Padua, the effectiveness of speech of Samuel, and for gifts even greater than these to touch the hardest of hearts.
- Fast. Do not forget to fast for your audience. If you are unfamiliar with the practice, consult a priest or spiritual director.
- Intercession. Ask others to pray for your presentation. Send out emails and tweets to let others know you need their prayers. See if a friend, family member, priest, or nun would be willing to be in Eucharistic Adoration during your talk. Some convents even have online forms where you can submit prayer petitions.
Sirach 33:4 says, “Prepare your words and you will be listened to; draw upon your training, and then give your answer.”
Read. Read good books, such as:
- Soul of the Apostolate, by Jean-Baptiste Chautard
- Love and Responsibility, by Pope John Paul II
- The Way, by St. Josemaria Escriva
- Good News About Sex and Marriage, by Christopher West
- If You Really Loved Me, by Jason Evert
Familiarize yourself with research on STDs, Birth Control, sexual activity rates, and other important statistics.
Besides spiritual and intellectual preparation, here are some practical points to help your presentation go smoothly.
Click here for more than a dozen tips on how to deliver a powerful presentation.
If you have an opportunity to speak with the media, here are a few tips:
- Smile. Loosen up, and don’t get defensive.
- Be exciting. People who work on television or radio use exaggerated expressions and voice inflections. When you watch them from home or listen in the car, you hardly notice it. Then, watch or hear an interview with a person who isn’t accustomed to being in front of the camera or on radio. Because they speak in a normal way, they sound boring and half-asleep. Just as the voice is important in radio, the image is important on television. In a presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, those who listened to the debate overwhelmingly though that Nixon won, while those who watched the debate and were able to look at the candidates thought that Kennedy won. He appeared more at ease, and even though his mere words may not have been as convincing as those of Nixon, his presence and composure were enough to make up for it. One way to grasp the importance of one’s image is to ask yourself who would win a debate if there was no sound.
- Know your talking points. Before an interview, think of the three or four positive points that you want to get across. If you are in a debate or getting interviewed by someone who is unfriendly to the message of chastity, don’t get controlled, but know your agenda. As they say, “Answer the question you wish you had been asked.”
- Be Humble. If you get stumped by a question, follow the wisdom of Sirach 5:11-12, “Be swift to hear, but slow to answer. If you have the knowledge, answer your neighbor; if not, put your hand over your mouth.”