An article in The New Yorker featured the career of Dick Van Dyke, who at almost 85 years old was singing and dancing in A Musical Memoir. One of the themes throughout the article was his high energy level. In fact, on Thanksgiving Day of last year he appeared at a mission on Skid Row, entertaining the residents while they ate. His comment, “I sing and dance. That’s what I do.”
I think that philosophy is critical whether becoming a better speaker or getting the most out of our lives. Never Stop Dancing is even the title of an excellent book by Gordon Livingston. I completed my career as a professor a couple of months ago and in advance I asked a colleague if she would dance out of the classroom with me at the end of my last class. She agreed.
As scheduled, she showed up and we danced down the hallway. What I did not know was that word had gotten out and about 150 students lined the hallway to watch the event. Our secretary filmed with her flip camera and you can watch us dance at Steve Boyd Fare Well Dance.
I’ve been taking dancing lessons for 17 years and I don’t intend to stop dancing. I’ve been teaching and speaking for several decades and I plan to continue speaking as often as I can and experiencing as many new things as I can.
This philosophy should guide our daily lives. For example, as a speaker I want to continue to improve. I believe my best speech is my next one. Each presentation I deliver gives me more experience. I urge all speakers always to seek to improve. Never stop dancing.
You can always make improvement if you keep working at developing your skills. This is true whether you are learning a new technology or simply working on your golf game.
Remember the life philosophy of Dick Van Dyke: “Never stop dancing.”