Networking Article from Networking Today Canada, Nat'l
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You Can Speak About Anything: How to Say a Few Words on a Moment's Notice
You’re sitting at a meeting. Powdered sugar from your donut is falling on your blazer. You planned to sit back and listen. Your vocal chords and your brain have just left for the Bahamas when you’re called on to say a few words. “What?” you croak as a spray of powdered sugar mists the air. Your thoughts rat-a-tat, “I’m not prepared. I couldn’t. I have no notes. I have no knowledge. I have no opinion. I pass.”
Whoa. Don’t pass on a chance to be visible and to be an expert. Don’t pass on the recognition you’ll get from your pithy patter. Here’s proof that you can talk about anything at the drop of a donut.
For instance, say you’re asked to speak about wine. What could you say if you weren’t an expert? You could speak on the dilemma a wine dunce faces when ordering wine. You could speak on alternatives to wine, making one glass of wine last all evening, cooking with wine, how to get wine stains out of clothes, how to find cheap wine glasses, where to find a liquor store with great service; or health effects of moderate wine drinking. Even if you don’t know a Chablis from a chamois, you can say a few words about wine.
What if you were asked to speak on management trends and you’re still trying to make the golden rule work (give yourself a standing ovation.)? You could speak on how management has changed in your company. You could speak on what you think the next trend will be; what work will look like in the year 2012 (no one else knows either); what would happen if people were simply kind and respectful to each other; what works in a sandbox; the best manager you know; how management techniques work in a family; what’s bunk and what’s funk and on and on. Even if you think theories X, Y, and Z are formulas for alphabet soup, you can say a few words about management trends.
The secret is to:
- Stop. Don’t hide behind the Fifth Amendment. And, don’t leap right in with a blathering of blather. Take a breath and...
- Gather your thoughts. You have several options here.
- Choose. Pick a focus. Pick a “headline.” And, pick a position. Then, quickly think of an example to support your position.
Here’s how it works. The chair asks your opinion on management. You pause and consider your focus. Gather an example and open your mouth. “Management: Back to Basics” [your headline]. “I think,” you continue, “that flavour of the month management has to be grounded in the basics” [your position]. “For example [Here comes your example], in my firm, we rely on courtesy, communication, and commitment. Three management basics that never go out of style. And with that foundation, we can grow and explore new business and success.”
Take a bow. You can speak about anything. Let’s toast your success with a big glass of chamois.
Karen Susman is a Speaker, Trainer, Coach, and Author of 102 Top Dog Networking Secrets. Karen works with organizations that want to maximize performance. Programs include Humour at Work; Balance In Life; Networking Skills; Presentation Skills; and Building Community Involvement. Order new guidebooks on humour, networking, time management, and community involvement by calling 1-888-678-8818 or e-mail Karen@KarenSusman.com.. www.KarenSusman.com.
Published in Networking Today, August, 2002.
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