Practice your responses

“Practice doesn’t make perfect, nor is it supposed to. Practice is about increasing your repertoire of ways to recover from your mistakes.”

– Joan Gutin

Mistakes happen. And… they will continue to happen in the future. But… it is a huge mistake if you fail to learn from your mistakes. Especially in the way that you respond to your mistakes.

What can you anticipate? What is likely to occur? How will you respond when it does occur?

Have you thought about your response? Have you practiced your response? If not, why not?

Originally, I planned this post as a follow-up to my previous one – “Why do politicians fumble Q & A sessions?  But then, I thought about this in a broader sense. I am constantly amazed to observe the number of people who:

  • Fail to anticipate sales objections – and to prepare their response.
  • Fail to address risk factors for their projects – and lack a Plan “B” to go forward when they do occur.
  • Fail to offer coaching and feedback to their staff – and wonder why they don’t achieve better results.

It is one thing to anticipate events and to prepare a plan to address to address them. It is quite another to actually practice the words that you will say during your response. To articulate them. To speak them aloud – and with confidence and conviction!

Words alone are insufficient in getting your message across. How you speak the words – your tone of voice – is the key to how your words are received and acted upon.

When I hear a politician – or any speaker – stumble over their words during a Q& A Session, I question their sincerity. I question their truthfullness. I question them.

Why? Because I get the feeling that they are “making it up as they go along.” That their response will be different the next time that they are asked this same question.

It is not what you say but, rather, how you say it that counts.

Let me give you an example. I am a musician. I can play a piece of music on the piano – hitting all of the correct notes. But, my performance will be flat and uninspired if I have not practiced – and internalized – my interpretaion of those notes. I need to practice not just hitting the correct notes, but also striking the right tone – for that piece and for my audience.

Speaking is no different. Sales is no different. Asking your staff to change is no different.

Learn how you can be different. Practice your responses!

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