The Scout motto “Be Prepared” has been ingrained in my thinking since I was a Webelos Club Scout in my younger years. When I was a young scout, the motto kept me in line with my school assignments, camping trips, and merit badges. I did what was necessary to make sure that my obligations were fulfilled because I was prepared to handle them when the time came.
Be prepared for life – to live happily and without regret, knowing that you have done your best. That’s what the Scout motto means. (Boy Scouts, 2007)
Today I try to understand how to be prepared in life. We can only know so much of what may happen in the future. We only know a little of what may happen depending on what we know about today. Being prepared is a constant balance of what we know and what we don’t or can’t know.
In public speaking, being prepared translates to being knowledgeable about the topic one is speaking about. By understanding the material in depth, the speaker knows how to convey a message in various different ways if necessary and can adapt to the audience. Being prepared as a public speaker also translates to understanding who the audience is and how they will react to certain pieces of information or opinions. The best result of being well prepared delivering a speech is that the audience is taken from Mindset A –the mindset at which they were before you came– and Mindset B — the mindset at which you wanted them to be. Taking an audience from A to B can be done in many ways, but it is far easier if the speaker is prepared.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, here are some tips on being prepared for a speech.
- Carrying note cards of quotes which you may want to deliver and be accurate.
- Carrying hard statistics in front of you with the sources or on a Presentation.
- Carrying the names of authoritative figures which you are basing your thoughts and opinions on.
- Carrying an outline of your speech as well as key phrases which you know sound good.
In leadership, being prepared is crucial to the over all success of the mission at hand and in the long term loyalty of those with whom the leader is working with. In leadership, the mission is not just reliant on leader, but rather a group of people whose fate is intricately tied to the leader. Being prepared as a leader entails many things, but here are a few things I’ve learned.
- Building the right team of people composed of the talents you need to succeed.
- Understanding each person on the team and how they are motivated and inspired.
- Creating Plans A through Z if necessary and making sure that all Team Members know about them.
- Understanding the Terrain or the Territory of your Mission.
- Creating Strategies and Tactics and training the Team on each.
The leader and public speaker alike have to carry a “Utility Belt” or something similar to what Batman wears so that they can “be prepared” to handle any situation no matter how difficult without necessarily needing to employ superhuman abilities, but rather common sense, practice, and calm thinking.