Scripted bits: a solution for high-intensity conversations.

We engage better with leaders who deliver concise messages with presence. However, most of us struggle to speak in that way.

When we improvise on a slideshow, we create confusion with our stuffy, lengthy messages. When we follow a script, we deliver better messages, but we sound unnatural. We are tied to our script, not dancing with the audience.

Conciseness and flexibility are especially critical when you engage in short, critical interactions, like business speed dating or promoting a new project to a board. When speaking from their usual preparation techniques, most of my clients report the experience of partners, colleagues or clients leaving them on ‘interesting’, having failed to engage with the ideas.

So what to prepare to deliver your ideas in their best expressions and flow, while adjusting to the moment?

Consider preparing like this:

  • Create a collection of messages (write them like take-aways).
  • Create a hierarchy in those messages.
  • Create your flow by selecting and assembling those messages in a detailed sequence.

Next, consider practising two exercises:

  • Practice improvising out loud. Follow your flow from one message to the next. Expand your ideas by including lower-level messages or shorten your talk using only higher-level messages.
  • When preparing highly interactive conversations like interviews, practice juggling with questions at various detail levels, using flash cards with questions on one side and messages on the other.

Why does this work?

Turning what you want to tell into short, simple messages is the essence of your leadership work. Your scripted bits replace complexity and confusion with simplicity. You create focus and clarity.

Bringing people deeper into your thinking requires messages on all levels of granularity. You have scripted your messages from high-level statements down to decision or action-specific prompts. Your hierarchy gives the flexibility of choosing either ‘the main problem’ or ‘the top 3 issues we need to work on’ or both, on the spot.

Sequencing your messages in a flow that matches the conversation requirement is key: whether this means stating problems before solutions, or defining a vision before you declare the next milestones etc.

Practising trains your memory to retrieve your flow and messages. You learn to inhibit adjacent ideas and to shut up, not expand after you have made a point. This builds your conviction and confidence.

Gaining flexibility with training on randomized prompts will help you deliver those exact same messages while jumping from one context to context, like in a conversation.

Speaking from this preparation technique, you will make clear, specific, and memorable points that your audience remembers. You will be capable of collapsing your points to deliver the essence in 3 minutes instead of 15 or 30 minutes if need be. You will answer questions by expanding on or jumping to any message in the moment, always in a clear and engaging manner.

You will decrease your mental workload and therefore be present and get your conviction across.

This approach is best applied after you have unloaded your brain on your voice recorder or by writing a first draft. It is much easier to clarify your flow and craft your messages when you reviewing a first draft.

Preparing to speak from great notes helps reveal your ideas to others progressively, repeat your core messages consistently, and renew their interest in every conversation.

Expressing your leadership with clarity, simplicity and relevance is the first step towards collective actions.

You can do that.

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