Almost every time you are attending a wedding, a party or any form of celebration that requires speeches, there is always someone who utters the phrase “I have not really prepared anything for this,” right before they proceed with their speech. These words are a buffer for the speech giver. If you start with the words “I have not prepared for this” it gives you the excuse for a bad speech. You have warned the audience before hand that this might not be very good. So if your speech is terrible, they can’t blame you. I used to do this all the time when I was trying a new trick, I wouldn’t say I have not prepared for this, I would say “I am trying out a new trick.” This would be my excuse if the trick was bad, and if I didn’t follow through with a good performance. The audience would be a lot more gracious to me because I warned them before hand that this might suck. Over time I learnt to take out the new trick premise. Now when I try out new tricks, I never let the audience know it is a new trick.
When giving a speech, the speech giver is usually given a fair amount of time to prepare for the speech. It is not usually the very last minute, and it’s not impromptu. They know the event is coming up, they know they are going to have to do a speech. Yet a lot of people choose to wing it on the day and use the phrase “I have not prepared for this.”
I have heard some cracking speeches over the years and everyone that was brilliant was extremely well prepared. These people owned it. They put in the effort to make something special. They not only prepared for it, they were willing to cop it on the chin if it wasn’t good. They don’t pre warn the audience if it is going to be bad, and they don't give themselves a buffer. They simply take responsibility for their actions, they step up and they own it.
Be prepared, it’s so simple when you think about it. Take the time and effort to give your self the best chance at success. Before I test out a new trick I will practice it over and over again. I will get it to a point where I no longer have to think about what my hands are doing. It’s the same with a speech and almost anything in life. Practice it, prepare it, and pursue it. In your life what is coming up that you need to prepare for?
When the time comes to test out new material I have decided to own it. Whether if works or fails, I am going to take the risk put myself out there and own it. If it fails I learn from it, if it succeeds I learn from it.
This applies in all areas of life. Are you just going to wing it or are you going to own it?