Thursday, November 14, 2013

Teaching Skills

The Work Your Audience Won't See

Before a missionary hits the streets, they spend two weeks in the Missionary Training Center. On their mission, every day before a missionary goes out to work, he or she studies for two hours, practices how they will teach, prepares for lessons, and role-plays. In between lessons, missionaries evaluate what went well and what they can improve.  There is a lot of work that goes on before a missionary actually knocks on a door.

My Purpose as a Blogger is...

Nephi told us at the start of the Book of Mormon, "For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved. Wherefore, the things which are pleasing unto the world I do not write, but the things which are pleasing unto God and unto those who are not of the world. Wherefore, I shall give commandment unto my seed, that they shall not occupy these plates with things which are not of worth unto the children of men." 1 Nephi 6:4-6 Nephi began by giving us his purpose in writing the Book of Mormon.

Of course we have the same purpose as every other missionary. But as bloggers, we must present doctrine and our personal experiences in well written, easily accessible, and personable form. We want to reach as many people as possible so the right people who need our words can read them and feel the Spirit.

Teaching Skills

How to Begin Teaching: Explain to your audience what your blog is all about. Create an "About" Page, write a blog description, give your posts labels or tags. This is essential for you and for your readers because if you can't explain your blog's niche simply, they won't understand it either. The best blogs are ones with a more narrow purpose. Ironically, it is a lot easier to write when you have given yourself restrictions. Ask yourself some questions: What is your blog about? Is it about you and "whatever?" Is it on a particular, specific topic? With your blog's current description in mind, can you come up with ten post ideas in the next minute?

Adjust your Teaching to Meet Needs: Be different. Be concise. Be relate-able. Be yourself. You can't write to please every single person on the face of the earth. Just do your best because if your write it, someone will like it. 

Teach With Your Companion in Unity: Look to your right. Or left. If your companion is not there, bring them over. This is your editor, sounding board, and possible guest-blogger. Congratulate them for accepting this new calling that you just volun-told them for.

Invite Members to Help you Teach: Get your ward to comment on your blog. On the actual blog. Comments on Facebook don't do you any good. Members are also good for guest posts.

Use the Scriptures: If you need inspiration, the Book of Mormon is the best blog ever. Really. Link to the scriptures in your posts. It will give power and authority to what you say. Preach My Gospel says to Introduce passages of scripture, read them, and then apply them to the investigator. This would make for a great blog post.

Teach for Understanding: Most newspapers are written at a 6th grade reading level, not because they're written by sixth graders, but so that the general population can understand it. You don't have to write to a super simple level, but make sure that most people can understand it. Also, shorter posts are better. Online, attention spans aren't very long.

Ask Questions: Create some discussion with questions. Make it as easy as possible for people to leave comments. Questions also invite people to act. Also, asking questions is a great way to come up with post ideas.

Listen: It's kind of hard to listen to people online unless they comment. But you can also watch your traffic stats to see what's more popular with your readers and the rest of the world.

Leave Something Behind: Let people know what to expect, such as when you'll post next, what you'll write about next time, or even just what you tend to write about. It's a good idea to have a list of ideas for posts, or even a few posts saved as drafts in case you fall behind. 

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