The Big Opening
Quite often before I'm about to speak at a conference the CEO or managing director will want to say a few words. Invariably the boss steps up and will gibber on for 10 or 15 minutes before departing to the back of the room and eventually out the door and off to something far more important than being with his troops at a conference. It doesn't happen just sometimes but all too often. Generally when they do address the team it is not prepared, has no structure, no message, doesn't communicate a vision and at the end of it you are left with a big 'so what'? So last week when I was about to run an innovation session, the head of strategy from a huge consulting firm addressed the troops. I was delighted when the message was articulate, inspiring, motivating and challenged the group to raise the roof to find the next great idea. If it's you and you are the leader and you are about to give
that address, take some time to think. Actually prepare, put yourself in the shoes of the person sitting in the seat in front of you and make sure when you leave the stage or the front of the room you leave them with a 'so what?'. Leave them with something that they can do to be better. If you walk in as most do unprepared and just gibber for 20 minutes, then you are not demonstrating leadership, if anything you are sucking the mojo out of the room and having people question whether they are in the right company or not. Speaking is more about the thinking time you put into preparation, planning and design and less about what is actually being said on the stage itself.