Ponder To Prepare

by Stephen Boyd | September 14, 2004

One of the principles we talk about in our book, From Dull to Dynamic: Transforming Your Presentations, is to spend time pondering what you plan to say in your next speech. Just thinking about your speech while driving your car or walking your dog is a valuable step in preparation. Start preparing far enough in advance of the day your speech will be delivered to spend ample time in pondering the possibilities for your presentation.

Include this part of preparation before you write down ideas. We tend to limit ourselves quickly to written ideas. Thus wait as long as you can before putting thoughts on paper. Talk about your thoughts to a friend or colleague. Just chatting about what you think you might include in the presentation can give you added insight in the pondering stage.

As you read the newspaper or finish reading a chapter in a book, keep in mind examples, statistics, or instances you might include in your speech. Again this involves the thinking-through process that can add depth to your presentation.

If you are stuck in the pondering stage and no new ideas are forthcoming, plan a quiet time in your favorite chair or room and allow your thoughts to run wild. Many years ago I was involved in the Toastmasters Speech Contest. I had to have a new speech at each level and if I got beat, of course, there was no next level. So the pondering stage was crucial to developing new ideas and I knew that this speech might be my last in competition if I did not win at the next level. I remember that one of my most valuable parts of preparation for each speech was seeking new ideas while sitting on our front porch watching cars go by. Ideas just seemed to come to me while sitting on the porch with no particular limitations to my thinking.

Don't write down your ideas for your next speech as soon as they come to you. Instead, spend time pondering. Thinking time will improve the quality of your ideas and the depth of your presentation.

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 http://www.sboyd.com. To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or email him through his website.

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