Get ready, set, go! How to communicate with confidence in any situation

Get Ready, Set, Go!

It was Donkey Day at Wesburn Park in the Yarra Valley recently. Charlie the donkey faced ‘the bridge,’ a slightly elevated flat wooden deck which was part of a simple obstacle course with donkey trainer Wrangler Jayne at the helm.


Get ready, set, go! How to communicate with confidence in any situation

Getting Charlie ready for his big day

Charlie didn’t do so brilliantly in front of the 6,000 people who turned up (rather unexpectedly) and neither did the organisers who were overwhelmed by the interest with bodies appearing from far and nigh.

As the day started, I heard “Here’s a microphone, Louise” from x-circus performer Linda, whose brilliant idea this Donkey Day happened to be.


I didn’t know the agenda, the entrants, or the arse end from the front end of an ass, but there was a microphone and there were the donkeys and there were 6000 people wanting to enjoy themselves.


Honestly, you never know when the need to improvise will arise. Yes, I was tense. Yes, I felt like an idiot and I probably should not have mentioned the action of one over-excited donkey, but there you are. We gave it a go and fortunately there was some lovely (maybe kind) feedback.


No one wants to hear about your fears or inadequacies. One thing I have learnt is you ‘just do it’ and, “please God,” you have some skills to back it up, no matter what the occasion.


You might think that your next huge presentation is the biggest worry, but you would be surprised how many senior executives ask me how to manage a networking evening with small talk.


Based on my Donkey Day experience, I surmised three key lessons:


  • It’s not about you: Your audience is waiting for someone to lead and are standing around wishing someone would do it. Why not you?
  • Intent over content: Sure, you might not be perfect but if you have the energy of positive intention, care for your audience and a little bit of structure it can really help.
  • Have fun! Connect with the audience, ask questions, and be interested. For many of the entrants I had to quickly check the Donkey’s name and age as it was all happening. Getting them involved can help you convey the right information. I ended up hosting from 10am to 4pm without a break and it was a lot of fun!

Just like we managed Donkey Day, Charlie will no doubt be better next year. So might I (if they ask me to return) and in the unknown of 2024, it would be great if you were critical-incident-ready.

We are all doing our best. Get as ready as you can. Ask me how!

Love Dr Louise Mahler

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About Me

Dr Louise Mahler is a body language expert. With a focus on study of the mind-body relationship and business applications; providing practical inspiring improvement to global leaders.

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