Let Me Summarize…

Horseracing at Keeneland near Lexington, Kentucky, brings great excitement to the region. An important part of every race is a summary of how each horse placed. At the end of a race, people wait to see the replay or summary of the race. The board will show the unofficial results, and then soon after the official ones. If the race is close, the finish will be replayed in slow motion so observers can see how close their horse came to winning, or that he won by a hair. Between races there may be a replay or summary of the race several times.

The summary is important in many areas of life. Certainly a fan in most sports will look for a summary of the games or races the day after the event. April, for example, brings to the daily sports section of a newspaper the box scores of all the baseball games played the previous day.

To summarize your life in daily increments is a good way to keep track of what you have done and seen. For example, I keep up-to-date a summary of books read and movies seen for the year. This habit helps me pay attention to what I have already read or seen so I won’t mistakenly start to read the same book a couple of years later, for example. Whatever your career, from teaching to driving a truck, summarizing is a helpful tool to do your job well. Contact me for a copy of “Reflect and Improve: Instructional Development Through a Teaching Journal,” by Josh Boyd and me.

Take a moment each evening to summarize your day. This may motivate you to keep track of dates and events you want to remember. If you are not sure when something happened, you might look through your summaries of those days. If your work includes meeting with clients regularly, in order to pay careful attention to each, take a moment after a meeting to summarize the appointment and when you need to contact him or her again.

An important part of any presentation is to summarize near the end. When you say, “In conclusion…,” the audience will pay closer attention, listening for you to replay your main points and remembering key ideas from the speech.

When I know I am going to write it down at the end of the day, I pay better attention to my daily activities. What are some techniques you use to remember the important events of each day?

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 steveboyd111@gmail.com.

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