Keeping Your Speaking Well From Going Dry

by Stephen Boyd | April 30, 2003

If you speak a lot, there are times when you may feel your material is getting stale and you lose enthusiasm for your content. When that happens you need new material that excites you and thus makes your speeches more stimulating.

A fun way to do that is to pick a subject, hobby, avocation, culture, or sport about which you know nothing but are interested in knowing more. Then immerse yourself in it. Read all you can about it, talk to people who know about it, and experience it if possible. Inevitably you will fall upon an example or a statistic or a visual that will fit perfectly into a part of a speech you are preparing, or you will see the relevance to a point you have been making in previous speeches. This discovery will heighten your enthusiasm for the subject you have been speaking on and the audience will respond accordingly.

For example, a few years ago I discovered hummingbirds on one of our vacations out west. I was fascinated by them. I bought books about them and got feeders to place in our back yard. My wife planted flowers that supposedly would attract the beautiful birds, and I went on the internet to learn from others who knew about hummers. Soon we had two pairs of hummingbirds who made our back yard their home for the summer. I was hooked and it wasn't long until I began inserting material about hummingbirds in my speeches. I now have a story about how hummers use more of their potential than humans and how we as humans can learn from this tiny marvelous animal. I use pictures of the hummingbird in my PowerPoint presentations at appropriate places. This one interest has affected my speaking in a very positive way.

About the Author

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. He presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. See additional articles and resources at To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or email him through his website.

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