Using Trigger Words

Today is the first day of fall, even though the daytime temperatures in the 90s here in Cincinnati do not feel like fall.

Until I figured out that you "fall" back an hour in the fall and "spring" forward an hour in the spring, I never remembered which direction the clock would go when we changed to and from Daylight Saving Time (which this year, by the way, doesn’t end until November 7!) Paying attention is easier when you have "trigger" words to help you focus and listen carefully.

Our coach would say to us at halftime, "Listen up!" and then he would give us his half time advice. You don't have to be that blunt, but keep trigger words tucked away in your mind to help you really be present in the moment that is challenging.

When I’m wondering if this month has 30 or 31 days, the “Thirty days hath September” rhyme starts running through my head.

For me, "write it down" is an expression I say to myself to motivate me to pull out my note card and pen whenever I know I need to remember an address, an appointment time, or a clever turn of phrase I just heard.

Words can help you pay attention and improve your listening and focusing skills when you let them "trigger" you to the direction you should be thinking or going.

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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