Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed on a Charter Communications Cable TV show Remade in California, along with my friend and business partner, Mitch Taylor. The whole experience was very educational and I want to share some of our real life lessons with you.
Be open to new people, new ideas, and new opportunities. I had self-published my first book when a few months later my husband met a local publisher who I “just had to meet.” She ended up publishing a 2nd edition for me, as well as my next two book projects. She also introduced me to a friend of hers in LA who owns a company called TVGuestperts. Although I was a little hesitant at first, I pursued this connection and ended up being listed as Personality and Communication Expert. This opened up other opportunities for connections with magazine publishers, radio programs, and, most recently, a TV show.
I am reminded of Mitch’s R.O.A.R. presentation that he gave in Las Vegas in March. The formula Risk, Opportunity, Action, Reward can be applied in every area of life, and this experience is a perfect example. We took a Risk in working with TVGuestperts. When the Opportunity arose, we took Action…flying to LA and being interviewed by host Pat Pattison. The Reward will come in the form of satisfaction of a job well done once we see the show, and in terms of new opportunities that will begin this cycle over again as new connections are made with the show’s viewers.
How open are you to new people, ideas, and opportunities? Do you follow through completely, applying each step of the R.O.A.R. formula until you can experience the results? What Risk should you be opening yourself up to now?
Preparation usually takes on two different forms. There is the preparation that is specific to a particular event, and there is ongoing preparation that we should always doing to grow and improve.
In this case, the specific preparation including researching the show, its audience, the host, and the show sponsors as well as creating speaking points based on questions supplied in advance. I am used to giving seminars, teaching workshops, and even giving interviews for radio shows and podcasts. I am also used to the free-flowing form of our Creating Connections podcast where it is more “acceptable” to stray off topic a bit. But this was different. I had to know my talking points, know my audience, and convey my message all while supporting the overall goals of the show and linking back to the show’s sponsor. I had to be prepared. Of course my specific preparation for this event also had to include extra logistics like hair, makeup, and wardrobe!
As a professional speaker, I am constantly finding myself in new and different situations. Some of them are exciting. Some of them are nerve-wracking. My favorite way to challenge myself to be prepared for any situation is by intentionally putting myself in challenging situations. I “work out” these skills twice a week through local Toastmasters Clubs. For me, this is the ongoing preparation that helps me to be always growing. Whether I’m leading a meeting, competing in a speech contest, or presenting a project from one of the advanced manuals, I am practicing being confident and prepared while keeping my cool and delivering my message in a variety of settings.
As I stood in the back of the studio watching Mitch give his interview, knowing I was next, I remember feeling surprisingly relaxed. I think this was primarily because of the level of preparation that I had put in. I looked ready, I felt ready, and I WAS ready.
How do you prepare? What do you do to get ready for a specific event? What do you do on a regular basis to grow and stretch and better prepare you for whatever opportunity might come next?
The week before the interview we had a pre-show phone meeting with the host and the producer to discuss the specifics like the questions that would be asked, the angle the host wanted to take, and how I could best communicate my message. We spent the majority of that conversation talking about two things: a personal story of mine that the audience could relate to (that also tied in to the show’s sponsor) and how I could convert the free online personality test on my website into questions I could share in the live interview with the host. NEITHER of those things were brought up during the interview. I was prepared, but when the host asked different questions and took things in a different direction, I had to be flexible. It was up to me to still get my message across and communicate the main idea from the talking points, but I had to do it differently.
This is where preparation becomes so important. Simply memorizing what I was “supposed to say” would not have helped. But because I was thinking about the audience and had really internalized what I wanted to share with them, I was able to roll with it when things took a different turn. Being flexible is part of being professional.
Having a plan is important. Understanding that things won’t always go according to that plan is even more important. What do you do when an event doesn’t go exactly as you had hoped? Are you able to be flexible? How has ample preparation and knowing your audience helped you?