Think Ahead!

            To be successful in delivering a presentation or in life, always think ahead. When giving a speech, think ahead about your audience. Find out as much as you can about the people in the audience. Talk to speakers who have addressed the group at previous meetings. Get to the meeting room early and check out your equipment, the room temperature, the lighting, and unique factors, such as an L-shaped room which might keep you from seeing all of your audience.

            Lanita's Uncle Tommy retired after 35 years of driving semis over 2 million miles without an accident. When I asked him about the most important aspect of safe driving, his answer was, "Always look down the road for brake lights."  This was another way of saying, "Think ahead." 

            To eat right, instead of stopping at the nearest fast food place on your way to a meeting, before leaving in the morning check the refrigerator for the makings of a salad you might take with you for lunch. Grab a container of yogurt and some nuts. You will eat better and feel better as the day progresses.

            Before making that important phone call, make a few notes on what you need to cover. At the beginning of the week, make a "date" for a week-end excursion with family. Make reservations a couple of days before you plan to go to your favorite restaurant. Check the calendar at the beginning of the month for birthdays of friends and family that you want to remember with a card or a call. Think before you speak.

            Don't pay attention only to what is at hand, but think ahead to the rest of the day and how to make the best use of your time and talents. Or in the words of Ed Helms, "I'm always thinking one step ahead — like a carpenter that makes stairs."

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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