Preparation Should Be Continuous

I’m always preparing—well, in a loose sort of way. As I go about my activities during the day, I am always alert for material for a sermon or speech. Any new or unusual object or action I see or any current event or story I read, I evaluate as to whether I might incorporate it in one of my programs.

For example, years ago while on vacation, we stayed in a bed and breakfast in Utah that had hummingbirds feeding in the flower-covered front yard. Their energy and speed and beauty impressed me. I began thinking, “How can I work what I am seeing into one of my presentations?”  By simply having this question in my mind, I eventually developed a hummingbird story that I use to end many of my speeches.

When I am preparing a new presentation, I go back to notes I have taken or clippings I have kept that might be appropriate material for an upcoming presentation.

When you regularly speak on your area of expertise, pay attention to the new, the unusual, the historical, or even the hypothetical. Keep notes on each. You never know when you might be preparing a key point in a presentation you have not yet been assigned or agreed to deliver.

To be an effective speaker over a long period of time, your preparation does not begin and end on a certain day or hour. Preparation is a continuous process.


Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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