Why not wing it?

You know your stuff, right? You don’t really need to prepare, you’ll be fine. Or not.

Winging it is common, but it’s risky. Unfortunately, most of us have had an experience or two when we have winged it and won. I say ‘unfortunately’ because those little successes give us false confidence to take the risk of winging it again and again.

Some of the risks of winging it are:

  • talking for way too long;
  • delivering a series of disjointed thoughts that are hard to follow;
  • never getting to your point or being off point;
  • leaving your audience with the impression that you didn’t care enough to prepare.

Some really quick and easy ways to prepare are:

  • ask yourself what you want your audience to take away, and then focus only on that;
  • get in touch with what your audience really and truly cares about and address it;
  • think of a relevant story or anecdote that supports the point or purpose for your talk;
  • identify a call to action, if you have one, and use that as your foundation.

These quick and easy tips are the kind of preparation you can do in your head just minutes before you get up to speak, and they are sure to help minimize your risk!

Consider Yogi Berra’s advice:

“You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”


Beth Levine