A person with their hands up and a microphoneWhat’s the difference between a planned speaking moment and when you are asked to “say a few words†with no notice?  Usually, it’s your state of mind and reaction when your name is called. Do you think, “OMG!†or “Yikes!!?† Or, are you always up for action?

How you control your thinking can be a huge factor in your success or failure as a speaker and leader.

Both the presentations for which you prepare extensively, and the opportunities to speak that come up unexpectedly can advance your revenues, your relationships and your reputation – if you stand ready mentally either way.

For the scheduled speaking commitment – whether to an industry or community group, a conference, a client, or internally – I have found that true leaders put in time, energy, thought and practice. They often get feedback along the way in terms of content, hidden agendas to include, and the types of real-life scenarios they can include for maximum, impact. They are usually ready to strut their stuff. On the other hand, when a speaker has not prepared well, it’s usually painfully obvious, isn’t it?

But what about those times when you didn’t know you were going to be asked to speak?

If you are an expert in your field, if you are a leader in your organization, and if you are passionate about your cause, product or service, chances are high that you will one day soon find yourself called upon to “say a few words.â€

So, bottom line, I recommend that everyone in a leadership position thinks about what they would say about an issue, event, or trend before the situation arises. Part of my work is to help my clients identify and develop answers for the questions they would rather not be asked, or that they’ve never thought about answering. You can devise and practice your own answers to the journalist’s basic questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? And How Much?

Whether your message is scheduled in advance or last-minute, the key to success is to remember that you are the expert. You are being asked to speak because you know more than anyone else on the topic!

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