Following are suggestions for studying the talks from General Conference
1. Look for Invitations and Encouragements
General Conference is one way the prophets and apostles invite us to do things to change our lives. Each time you encounter one of these invitations, write it down. As you make a list, you’ll get a clearer idea of ways you can become better.
2. Watch for Cause-and-Effect Statements
Cause-and-effect statements include an action and the blessings that come by following it. For example, President Thomas S. Monson said, “A knowledge of truth and the answers to our greatest questions come to us as we are obedient to the commandments of God.” In other words, if you are asking Heavenly Father for answers to questions you have, then you will receive them more readily when you show obedience to His commandments.
Such statements that show cause and effect help us because they tell us how to receive specific blessings we need. As you review Conference, make a list of the blessings you read about and the things you need to do to receive them (see D&C 130:21 and D&C 59:23). As you do so, take notice of the blessings Heavenly Father wants us to enjoy.
Think of the deep questions you have—about life, your family, friends, your calling, your studies, or anything else on your mind. As you study Church leaders’ messages, prayerfully ask the Lord for help with the issues you are facing. Sometimes the answer may come directly from the words you read, but at other times the Spirit may prompt you with the guidance or strength you need to deal with your situation because you’ve studied the words of prophets.
4. Look for Lists
Church leaders frequently explain a series of steps or principles we can follow to accomplish goals or improve our lives. Sometimes these lists are easy to find because they are numbered or bulleted. Sometimes, however, lists may occur as a series in a sentence or spread out over several paragraphs.
5. Watch for Repeated Phrases and Overall Themes
Often, the more something is repeated, the more important it is for us at that moment. As you study Conference, look for recurring doctrines, themes, and ideas. You might even review notes from previous Conferences to identify topics that are emphasized over time.
As you study the words of the prophets, set goals that will help you grow. Then keep track of how you’re doing by writing in your journal. Measuring your development will make a huge difference in your success.