Each morning prepare for battle. Life is unexpected and can definitely throw you some curve balls. This month I’ve had several requests to jump on camera at downtown TV newsrooms to chat about politics. In the first instance I had 45 minutes to prepare my remarks after the producer’s invite, 30 minutes to travel via Uber (with a driver that was new and unfamiliar with driving in Austin, in her first day with the private driving company, and had no working A/C). And, to top it all off I was in back-to-back meetings for the first part of the day, so I had no margin to freshen up and thus, wore the outfit and makeup I put on 6.5 hours earlier that morning to the newsroom. You never know when you’ll be invited to speak on TV or at other places in public. To prepare yourself, embrace the unexpected by activating these lessons:
- Make the most of each morning
- Rise early and keep your cell phone and other distractions away.
- Focus, reflect, and have quiet time with the Creator.
- Review the day’s scheduled appointments and prioritize the top 3-5 must-do projects/tasks.
- Dress for success – besides washing your body and bushing/combing your hair, consider how you look in the mirror might be how thousands of people see you later tonight on air or whenever through internet searches. With that in mind, groom yourself to your tip-top best.
- Wear a solid-color shirt (for ladies wearing dresses, make sure your above waist fabric is also a solid color). Solid colors look best on TV; lines and designs jump around on screen and detract from your message.
- Eat a high-protein and low-in-carbs-and-sugar breakfast. Doing so kick-starts your metabolism and equips your brain for battle.
- Stay alert to the top newsworthy topics in your industry
- Sign up for your favorite news sites’ email notifications. Many allow you to submit your email to receive a daily digest of their top content and some collect the best articles on particular industries and aggregate the best ones for viewer’s quick-skim.
- Some of my favorites are Hubspot, Drudge, Twitter (specific hashtags as well as the homepage), Politico, Popsugar Living, Wall Street Journal, and Austin-American Statesman.
- Pack these essentials for an on-the-go, successful, in-the-spotlight day:
- In your briefcase or purse, pack a protein bar, bottle of water, and an apple to keep your body on the go between meetings and busy days
- Ladies, keep a powder compact and lipstick in your bag at all times to refresh your face when needed as well as professional flats that can go with any outfit. You never know when you’ll need to hurry across town, and sometimes heels just aren’t practical.
- Men, keep a dark-colored (no prints/designs/lines) sports coat in your office – perhaps install a hook on the back of your office door. I got one at Walmart for $6 bucks and it has a sticky adhesive that is strong enough to hold my heavy winter coats as well as blazers. Many times a jacket is necessary for public appearances, and depending on your industry, it might be a good idea to keep an extra tie on that hook too for the times you need one.
- Floss – food gets stuck in everyone’s teeth and you definitely don’t want it on display for everyone in your town (or the country) to see on TV.
- Mints—when meeting folks for the first time at a speaking gig, you want them to remember your words and how you made them feel, not how awful your breath was and the onions they smelled from your lunch.
- Business cards – Make sure to have them handy to hand to TV producers, reporters, and others in the newsroom or on the panel/stage with you. This allows you to continue the conversation and develop the relationship further. Remember, to regularly replenish your stash so you don’t find yourself empty-handed. That’s the worst.
- Phone charger – when you’re on the go and in a highly visible role, one of the worst things that can happen is your phone goes dead and you have no way of communicating with the newsroom or using your maps to find the location of your speaking gig. Invest the $35 in a super-charger and keep it in your briefcase and purse so you’re never without.
- Small notepad — they have small, quality leather-looking ones at Office Depot for less than $15. You never know when you’ll need paper to jot down your thoughts/speaking points while on the way to deliver your thoughts to your audience on TV, radio, online, or in person. Many weigh less than 2 pounds.
Invest in yourself and in your brand by implementing these simple, yet strategic public speaking and TV tips. Much of life cannot be expected, but when we anticipate disruptions and prepare ourselves, our brands can respond well.
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