How to Write A Rollo & Deliver With Impact
By Joe Ambrose
Do you dread the idea of writing and giving a talk on the weekend? That’s how I felt the first time I was asked to present a rollo. Here are some techniques I have followed to put that feeling of dread in the background.
First, I consider that the rector prayed for guidance on who should give each talk. God put me on his/her heart as the right person for this particular talk. The same is true for you. You were chosen for this talk. Also, remember that the rector is continuing to pray for you.
So, start with prayer. Recognize that the talk belongs to the Lord. It’s His talk. It’s His weekend, and as such, you should continue to pray about what you’ll write. God must work inside your thought process to bring all that He wants from you.
The team manual is a real help. Each talk builds on the previous talk, and the next talk will build on yours, so you need to make sure you’re following that outline. All of the points in the outline (but not all the commentary) need to be in your talk.
Use the knowledge and experiences you’ve gained to make the talk your own. Most of the talks will need your personal testimony to bring them alive and to drive each point home. Ask the Lord to help you remember what He’s done in your life. Tell your story. That’s what we want to hear.
Personally, I work in relatively short sessions spread over about a week to 10 days. During that time, I continue to pray and ask God to call to my mind those scriptures and examples that are appropriate. I usually work on one or two points in the outline at a time and take the time to think about the scriptures and personal experiences that apply to those points.
I usually take the outline from the team member guide and make it a Word document. I’m more comfortable typing my rollos at the computer. As I write, I include the scripture selections in the text. There are tools available online to copy verses of scripture into your talk.
The talk is a lecture, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Use props and find ways to engage your audience. I once used a Rubik’s cube to demonstrate the concept of Ideals. On another occasion, I started the Study rollo with a hymn. Ask for a show of hands, ask a question, make it interactive.
Make sure you have your talk ready for the team meeting when the rector has asked you to give it. Practice several times before the meeting. Using a watch, or stopwatch, read your rollo the way you would on the weekend. Speak in your normal voice, and don’t hurry. Once you’re done, check the time. If you’re under, fine, if not, see what points you can shorten.
At the team meeting, give the rollo as if on the weekend. The team meeting is a dress rehearsal. If you make a mistake, keep on going. If you’re nervous, that’s okay. The more you practice, the better you’ll be.
Listen to the team as they critique your talk. Remember, you’re not a professional public speaker. One of the many benefits of Tres Dias is giving the laity (that’s you and me) the opportunity to speak in public and to tell our stories. The team is there to help you get better at it. Not just the content, but the delivery.
Once you’ve had the critique, practice it over and over, standing up, so that it becomes natural. This does two things. It makes you familiar with the talk so that you don’t have your head down reading it. You can look at your audience instead, and you’ll be more comfortable and not as nervous.
During the weekend, you may have a chance to pray with a designated member of the team before you give your talk. Tell him/her what you need. Also, remember that you’ll have one or more team members praying for you during the talk as well. Most talks start with a request for prayer. Use it. Pick someone at random, or arrange for someone to pray for you when you call on them. Organized spontaneity is a good thing.
Be excited about your rollo. If you’re not excited by your talk, your audience won’t be either. Smile and be engaging. Your audience will perk up, smile back, and hear what you have to say as the Lord uses uses you for His purpose.
Joe Ambrose is a member of the Long Island Tres Dias community.