I am not a football fan, but I love the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. These weeks are rich with athletes talking on-camera about winning, losing, how they feel, what they were thinking, predictions for the future, etc. Their performances on-camera vary wildly … for me, it’s more fun to watch the interviews than the games!

Here’s what so often perplexes me, though. (Listen up, you office types, this applies to you too!) All too often the athletes seem unprepared for the questions. Really? You weren’t expecting that? I’m scratching my head … there are only two potential outcomes to an athletic competition, winning and not winning. And there’s a set of pretty predictable questions. Surely, an athlete can mentally prepare for at least minute to get his head around how he’d like to frame up each of those situations.

This is really true for most of us who are called upon to speak … maybe not into a TV camera, but certainly in meetings and in other typical venues. We act like we weren’t expecting to have to speak. Really? Why aren’t we always at-the-ready? Are we working on that project, are we responsible for that client, are we a member of the staff that is having the staff meeting? Well then, we need to buck up … and spend a minute or two getting our heads around what we’d like everyone to know and remember about our work.

On the field or in the office, I say plan for and play good offense … playing defense is a lot harder!

Beth Levine