Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
It’s Halftime…Are You Ready?
How many times have you started a presentation or interview and thought, “gosh, I wish I had a better start?” Have you started down a line of ideas and then lost your train of thought mid-sentence and hoped for the hail Mary idea to get you back on track? If so, you’re not alone!
Wanting the proverbial do-over is normal. We all need one at some point. However, what separates the skilled from the lucky are the actions one takes to get themselves back on track. To step up in or after a crisis, or to simply pause after a misstep just long enough to regain footing and move forward.
As an enormous sports fan and former physical athlete who still feels she has some sports psychology still left in her, I found myself thoroughly inspired by the message in the Chrysler Super Bowl ad narrated by Clint Eastwood. The concept that halftime can be a game changer, and if you persevere you can get through any tough time was a powerful message of both strength and hope. The same holds true whether you’re out on the gridiron, making your winning putt on the golf course, shooting the buzzer beater basket, or standing in front of an audience hoping to sway, motivate, inspire or move them to follow your lead.
Halftime comes, whenever you feel it’s time to put one in. A restart doesn’t need to take you back to the beginning. That’s the beauty of halftime. What happens after the break is strictly up to you, your tenacity to overcome, and your ability to regroup. The best ways to call your own halftime are:
- Take a pause. Re-examine your notes, find your place, and begin again.
- Make a deliberate change. Let your audience know you have a better way of making your point. Ask for their indulgence to follow you in the new path.
- Breathe. When nerves are pounding, some deep breaths will help you regain the calm.
- Ask a question.If you find yourself getting lost in your own answer to a question, stop and ask for clarification. If you feel like you’re wandering through your own presentation, your audience probably is, too. You can stop and ask them if they have questions on what you’ve said so far. Their questions could put you back on track. At the very least, the questions will re-engage them, and energize you.
- Take a do-over. As a last resort, suffer through whatever you’re in, and schedule another opportunity to be in front of your audience again soon, so you can tweak your message and delivery, and come back stronger.
This is, after all, America. This is the land of comebacks. We forgive politicians, actors, business people, athletes, and other public figures that make enormous, costly, and even dangerous or harmful mistakes. We’ve let some people come back over and over, as long as they’ve said the right thing and performed as well, or better than before. The same holds true for you…the private figure who just wants to make a good impression, and convince someone to listen to what you have to say.
What will you do at your halftime? Will you rise to the challenge? Be sure to let us know!
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