How You Can Have the Winning Edge in Any Situation

“You look like you just got punched in the stomach,” my friend Frieda said.

“You’re really perceptive. I just had a loss like a gut punch,” I replied.

I had just lost a speech contest.

Why?

I had rehearsed a number of details, but I failed to rehearse the Vital Detail.

The speech contest required that I think on my feet and come up with an instant evaluation of another person’s speech.

So I rehearsed:

  • how to start my speech
  • how to say “I have three main points for you”
  • how to address the speaker AND the audience
  • how to bring in spontaneous humor
  • how to end my evaluation-speech with a summary

Still, I failed to rehearse the Vital Detail: How to abruptly, but with grace, end the speech.

So I lost the contest, but I gained the big lesson: Rehearse Vital Details.

As I gave the speech I brought in five spontaneous humor moments – and I threw off my own timing as I waited for the audience to finish laughing.

Here’s what I needed to do (before the day of giving this impromptu speech): Rehearse a quick ending: “And the final thing I’m going to share is ______.”

That would give me a 7-second ending.

My friend, here are the Two Big Lessons that I’ve learned from this experience:

  • Rehearse Vital Details
  • Get the Lesson, Record It, and Speak the Lesson
  1. Rehearse Vital Details

In a timed-speech contest, the important thing is to end the speech on time. (I went over by 8 seconds — and my funny, warm speech was disqualified.) So I needed to rehearse how to cut a speech short—with grace. As I mentioned, I could have rehearsed a quick ending: “And the final thing I’m going to share is ______.”

As you saw above, I did a lot of rehearsal. But I failed to Rehearse the Vital Detail (the quick ending). If I enter another speech contest, I’ll pay close attention to the Vital Detail.

On a similar note: In giving a pitch to gain investors, the Vital Detail is to rehearse two good answers for each of 10 Worst Questions the investors would likely ask.

One needs to think through one’s answers, write them down and rehearse them. Rehearse enough so that you can sound confident and natural as you respond to tough questions. (I write about ideas like this at PitchPowerFest.com.)

Now it’s your turn. What is a Vital Detail related to something that is coming up for you? (a speech, an important meeting, an interview, a conversation with a family member)

 

  1. Get the Lesson, Record It, and Speak the Lesson

When you want to have the Winning Edge in Any Situation, be sure that you get the lesson. It’s more than just pausing a moment and making a mental note. Instead, take the time to record the lesson—that is, write it down.

Then, take the third step and speak out loud (to a trusted friend, or your coach, or a therapist), the lesson you want to learn and always keep with you. As an Executive Coach, I sometimes ask my client, “So what’s the lesson from this that you’re going to carry with you?”

When you do this process, the pain subsides to some degree. Why? Because you’re not leaving empty-handed. You paid for this lesson and now you can carry it with you. This lesson will give you the Winning Edge in future situations. Also, you can bring value to others if you get the opportunity to share the lesson with them. (That’s been my goal with sharing this article with you.)

Warmly,

Tom

Tom Marcoux
Executive Coach
Spoken Word Strategist

CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)

Speaker-author of 41 books (with free chapters on Amazon.com )
Author of Soar With Confidence: An Executive Coach Reveals Secrets, Lies and Countermeasures So You Excel Like Top CEOs and Leaders – Pitch, Lead, Succeed (See more when you CLICK HERE )
1.8 min. video (on YouTube): Tom Marcoux pulls back the curtain about how his directing a feature film that went to Cannes Film market helps with “Building Your Brand”:
Author of Time Management Secrets the Rich Won’t Tell You (See more when you CLICK HERE )
Author of Connect: High Trust Communication for Your Success in Business and Life (See more when you CLICK HERE )
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2 comments on “How You Can Have the Winning Edge in Any Situation
  1. Emi says:

    Great Article and very timely. It truly is so important to know when its appropriate to be a little relaxed on time , and also when you need to tighten up the delivery of a speech /meeting.
    And it never hurts to rehearse!

    Like

    • Emi,
      about “Great Article and very timely. It truly is so important to know when its appropriate to be a little relaxed on time , and also when you need to tighten up the delivery of a speech /meeting.
      And it never hurts to rehearse!”

      Thank you.
      I’m glad to hear you got value from my article.
      the best to you,
      Tom

      Like

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