Speaking up is a liberating creative act.

Speaking up to lead with your best ideas creates meaningful, engaging conversations. They start enjoyable collaborations. In great conversations, your best ideas inspire better decisions and collective actions. Your voice matters.

The irony is that preparing presentations and meetings feels like admin work. Most of my clients prefer to do their work, feeling immersed and enjoying the flow. They experience the preparation of conversations as a disruption. Experts in particular dislike c-suite presentations: they see preparing one more status update as a painful data gathering and impossible summarization experience. It does not condense their best thinking. It does not show their drive and point of view. Fortunately, there is another way.

Your leadership development journey starts when you realize that those presentations are leadership opportunities: opportunities to make sense, simplify, clarify, move the discussion forward. Preparing to speak is an opportunity to grow as a leader, because preparing well changes your thinking and your identity as a leader.

Here is why:

When you consider speaking a creative act, you start to see your presentations and conversations as your leadership portfolio: a collection of creations accumulating over time. A collection picturing your unique perspective, your story and your identity as a leader.

If you embrace this creator mindset, you sharpen your thinking. You will experience an increased awareness of yourself, your perspective, and your intentions. The deadline for your preparation will help you focus on making sense of situations, discovering possibilities. Having to gather ideas will nurture your values and creative drive. You will pay more attention to the needs, beliefs and points of view of others. Preparing will remind you to unzoom and refocus on the bigger goals, directions and opportunities. Your brain will start connecting the dots between all those elements.

The creative work will turn chaos into a tangible, structured output. Unloading your brain saves you from getting lost. Good preparation turns your best ideas into clear and concise words. All your fleeting thoughts, notes, data, and inputs are gathered in one place outside your head. Preparation helps you create clarity by externalizing your the best expression of your ideas on your computer or paper. When observe what you have created – structure, flow, build-ups and messages -, you see that your preparation reveals your leadership to yourself and builds your conviction.

Preparing well is super efficient. Repurposing your thinking and best messages from presentation to presentation takes much less time than repackaging your data and bullet points on slides. Your preparation outputs the best expression of your leadership: your core messages – what you tell people, either as a script or as a detailed outline, with or without visual aids.

Your best messages live now outside your brain. You took the time to get to the point, to go to the essence of your idea, to replace abstract reasoning with lively examples, key figures, metaphors and stories. You open your document and here they are. Storing your messages means storing and retrieving words that work for your audience. You have stored these so that you can retrieve and re-purpose your messages to continue conversations. They are the deliverables from your leadership practice.

Presentation after presentation, conversation after conversation, you build a portfolio of leadership creations.

You can do it. It is liberating.

What do you experience when you create a presentation or speech? How does it sharpen your thinking, liberate your brain and help speak with the freedom that comes with messages stored on great notes?

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