How CEOs deal with no preparation

Pullin’ it together with no notice

Two weeks ago, I woke early to my phone humming somewhere under my duvet where it had dropped as I fell asleep watching documentaries on ancient Rome (I know, I have to get out more!). It was a mobile number I didn’t recognise, but I answered.

“Bob from the Today Show, here. Can you be on the Today Show in 30 minutes? We’ll send a crew”.

I happen to be able to dress at the speed of light, so no challenge there. “What would you like to speak about?” I asked. “Queen Mary” was the answer.

So there I am in the shower on my phone (the bed and now the shower – I have a very intimate relationship with my phone) catching up on the photos of Queen Mary that had appeared overnight.

How CEOs deal with no preparation

When in doubt, wear red. So I threw on the red. The crew couldn’t make it, so we were on Zoom instead, and I changed backgrounds five times to get one I thought would be right for the interview when a voice said, “You are on after the weather.”

The weather is just about to finish, and my screen goes totally blank for some ungodly reason. Total panic sets in, but I’m “on.”

I can still hear them, they can see and hear me, but I have NOTHING. So there we are. They are showing pictures on screen and talking but I have nothing but black in front of me. What to do?

Well, I can tell you for nothing. My neck went stiff, my smile dropped, and my eyes were startled. I had to scream silently to myself my favourite mantra that everyone I work with knows ‘Nod, blink, smile like an idiot’, and stiffly, my head went into gear. But I had no idea if I was on screen or not, so I also had to make sure I didn’t move because I was in the right spot when it went blank.

Over shoulder shot of corporate businesswoman using computer

I followed my framework for answering questions and interacted with Karl and Sarah, throwing it back to them when I could.

Seriously, it was not the most fun thing I have ever experienced, but I did it. Guess what? Lovely notes from colleagues saying, “Well done this morning”. Mystery of the sphinx.

Later that day I listened this week to a young man who was asked by his boss with “only seven days’ notice” to give a presentation at work. “Outrageous!” he told me. “I need a lot more time,” he shuddered.

Here’s the news team. If you are taking tons of time out of your day to write presentations, you are playing the wrong game.

It doesn’t matter what you are doing in communication; the time comes in training, in having frameworks and skills to work with at the moment. It’s not perfect, but there will hopefully be a next time, and it will be better then, and you’ll be ready for whatever happens. You simply just don’t get the time.

Let me hear your thoughts.

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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