You’re the replacement…
Have you ever been told – “It’s an emergency, we have five minutes to get someone to speak – so you have to present!”
Here is a recent request I received by email from a client – I’ve had a request to speak and I have only 10 minutes to get ready help please now.
Okay we can look at this in several ways; you can be excited that you have an opportunity to make a difference and save the day, looking like a “hero”. Or you might want to think about the risk involved in not being prepared and the potential disappointment that others might feel that you are the replacement speaker.
The challenge is to know whether or not it’s a good thing or a potentially bad thing to step in and speak? I believe that most of us look at someone who has stepped into the situation to save the day with very kind eyes and they show courage in doing so. My first response is “yes” go ahead and here are some steps that might help you in this situation.
Step 1; if you can get access to the speech and materials that the previous speaker was going to use. Take a quick look review the highlights make your own points about the same points within the speech. You have to be a fast study but my assumption is that the reason you’ve been asked to step in is because you have background in the topic or the industry.
Step 2; review what you know about the audience and what that dislike, their likes and preferences, and their biases towards the subject. At least when you know whom you are speaking to you can have a place to respond from. It’s very important that you know your own position on the subject matter that you’re going to be talking about, from that position you can take over the speech and give your take on it.
Step 3; what are the audience’s expectations about the previous speakers speech. If you’re at a convention this probably been printed and overview of the previous speaker you are replacing, and the title of the speech and description will give you a good sense of what you need to go.
Step 4; have fun and give it your all really let go as this is a real opportunity to say what you mean about this subject, the biggest trap of all would be to try and be the speaker you are replacing, because no one is totally replaceable each and every person has a unique and special way in the world, so show the world you’re special and unique style and expression.