Sunday, July 26, 2009

Say what?!?

"Not intended for use as a life saving device" was what the packaging for my infant's outdoor, blow-up pool read. "What?" was my response. After all, who in the world would mistake a blow up pool for a life saving device?

The problem above is not uncommon in the world of business either. One of the best public presenters that I've ever seen, David Barnes, did not earn that accolade because of his enthusiasm. (And he is a very enthusiastic public speaker.) Instead, in spite of the energy level that he had that could power Manhattan for a week, his message was clear as a newly produced pane of glass.

Does this come naturally? There is a common expression that says (paraphrased): "amateurs practice until they get it right, while professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong." While this adage is probably more applicable to situations where you are being questioned (e.g. product demonstrations, job interviews, etc.) the sentiment that you can never practice enough should not go unnoticed.

Occasionally, important situations like meetings spring up unannounced. But even when unannounced they are rarely about topics whose importance is unbeknownst to you. Are you always at DEFCON 1 with regards to these topics? Could you, on a moment's notice, answer even the most pointed questions about their details? Do you take the time to rehearse and rehash possible discussions and how you would frame your responses?

Although my neighbors probably think I'm a mad scientist, whenever I'm out walking my infant around in the stroller, I can always be found talking to myself. I haven't lost my marbles; instead, I have picked my topic du jour and am debating myself on the pro's and con's of it. And while this doesn't guarantee me success should this ever become the topic of discussion, I am already a step ahead in my preparedness.

Being viewed as an intelligent speaker with "all the answers" doesn't have to be an impossible task. But the rewards of leaving such an impression upon others are unmistakeable: people will look to you as the person to go to, thus increasing your worth to the organization. And in these economic times, one can never be worth too much.

1 comment:

  1. Sage advice Larry. It takes a lot of focus and energy to create a "habit of preparation". Clearly a differentiator for those that do.