Have you eaten a restaurant meal you would call exceptional? Just having someone prepare your food is a luxury, and to have it be especially good is a true gift. Well, I’m here to tell you the work that goes into prepping a great meal is absolutely a roadmap you can follow to make a great presentation or answer questions from a reporter.
There is a French expression used in kitchens – Mise En Place – which means “Everything in its place.” Famed chef Anthony Bourdain left us some terrific perspective in his book Kitchen Confidential. He talks about the importance of Mise En Place in a well-run kitchen. Recently I was talking to a restaurant professional about why he had stayed with the same employer for 20 years. His answer? Mise En Place. He said his managers set him up for success by making sure everything was in its place every time he came to work.
What does all of this food talk have to do with public communication? Everything. Your comfort and confidence when answering questions or giving an important talk is hugely impacted by how you feel at that very moment. Is everything in its place? Have you done everything you can to set yourself up for success? I’m here to tell you, after 20 years of helping people who find themselves in these exact situations, Mise En Place can make all the difference.
Here are the keys to feeling you have “Everything in its Place” as you stand up to speak:
Know Your Message: If can express your key message simply and clearly, you are already well ahead of most. Smart people often can get buried in the details and leave the audience wondering what “the point” was when they are finished speaking.
Practice Seriously: Many people think they are prepared for an important meeting or interview without ever actually saying what they plan to say OUT LOUD. Our brains process things differently when we hear ourselves speaking. Take time to seriously practice by standing up and delivering your message aloud.
Prep for the Toughest Questions: If you take the first two steps and forget this one you could be sunk within moments of finishing your talk. What if the first question you face is one you haven’t prepared for? Stumbling around after a well-delivered message will torpedo your credibility faster than you can say, “No comment.”
Doing the work that puts “Everything in its place” ensures a smooth-running kitchen and a long, successful career in the restaurant business. It also is the perfect recipe for your comfort and success when standing up to speak. Be sure to be generous in acknowledging those who serve us in our favorite eateries. And as for the this advice from me? It’s free – go forth and use it well.