I find it interesting that nerves sometimes play a role when called upon to make impromptu presentations, no matter how familiar one is with the audience being addressed. As a Business Executive, the importance of being prepared to give impromptu presentations cannot be overemphasized.
In the Management communications course at LBS, we were reminded of the need to always be prepared to give unprepared speeches and we discussed a number of scenarios where we may be called upon to address an audience without prior information, be it in a crisis situation or in the normal course of day-to-day operations.
The issue is that most times we are unprepared to make such presentations and when called upon, we fall victim to not being able to address the situation. For example, I was called upon in one of the classes to give a toast at a wedding because the bridesmaid was unavoidable absent. I immediately went into panic mode because I bothered too much about how familiar I was with the couple and was busy over thinking about a “Perfect speech”. Hello! this was meant to be a 5minutes toast and a simple welcome message and a toast to the celebrants would have saved the day.
Of course, there are situations, such as crisis scenarios where one needs to be better prepared before addressing the audience. In such situations, the STARRR and LATTE frameworks come in handy.
Situation: It is very important to understand and assess the situation, event, project, or challenge faced before acting.
Task: Assign responsibilities to alleviate the crisis. There is a need to determine if you are in a position to handle the task or whether you need to involve other parties.
Action required : Steps or procedures to relieve or rectify the situation)
Relationship (who should be involved in carrying out the action?)
Results (Results of actions taken)
Review (review for next time)
Listen: In the words of Stephen covey in his book “7 habits of highly effective people, habit 5 is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This is another way to say listen before you act or speak
Acknowledge: acknowledge the concerns of your audience
Examples of Crisis Situations and Responses
Emergency status during a crisis can be grouped into three (3) levels based on their level of severity:
- Code Red: Full or severe emergency status requiring all hands-on deck. Has the potential to seriously disrupt operations
- Code Amber: Moderate impact on the overall functional capacity of the business
- Code Green: Long-term damage to the organization’s reputation
We had various examples to depict each scenario and Dr. Tunde was able to help walk us through appropriate responses for situations presented during the rich conversations.
In all, I thoroughly enjoyed the role play and I believe the learnings resonate.