I have been speaking publicly to groups for 16 years. In all those years, people have told me that I seem at home on a stage. And I have to agree. They will often ask how nervous I get.
The truth is, most of the time, I don’t. I kinda adhere to Peyton Manning‘s belief. When he was backstage at the Get Motivated event in Nashville, somebody said, “You’re a football player, not a public speaker. I know you don’t get nervous on the field, but you’re about to go speak to 12,000 people. Does this get you nervous?” Payton, without missing a beat, said, “Only the unprepared get nervous.”
That is a truth that I have felt for a long time. For years I have believed that if God is going to put me on a platform in front of His children, I better be prepared. If I’m going to be entrusted with their valuable time, I better give them something that’s worth more than what they could have filled that space with.
I love being on stage, but not for the reasons most people love it. Some are just happy to be on stage in front of people so they can hear themselves speak. Those are the people who are going to be nervous on stage. Why? Because they haven’t taken it seriously enough. When you believe that your job is to enhance someone’s life, and that it’s a privilege to be there, your focus is different.
Funny thing is that I find myself getting nervous when someone walks up to me and tells me that we need to add five minutes of stretch to my already prepared talk. That’s when I’m concerned that I might not be able to deliver my best for those who are giving me their attention.
As a leader, you’re almost required to know how to speak in front of a group. How to motivate them. How to inspire them. How to give them the good, the bad, and the ugly. But you still have to be cognizant of the fact that you’re taking up your team’s precious time when you pull them together to share information. Forget the fact that you’re pulling payroll away from the work that brings in the income.
Unfortunately, I’ve been a part of way too many meetings in my life where my time wasn’t valued enough for the person who called the meeting to prepare ahead of time. (If I’m being truthful, I’ve done it myself in the past as well.) The result is always the same: a meeting where we brainstorm instead of make good, strong decisions. If the person calling the meeting had prepared for it beforehand, then the rest of us could have prepared our input ahead of time as well.
When both sides are prepared, decisions get made. And team members feel that their time is valued, and the information you shared was more important than the work they had on their plate at the time.
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