Organization is the Mother of Success
Posted by Anni M.
I’m not the most organized person in the world. I try to be. I make lists; buy all manner of containers for my papers, clothes, and books; carry around a scrawled-upon calendar; and yet still, I struggle to keep my life in order. If only we could all be star students with meticulously placed post-its in our textbooks, neatly sorted index cards in our backpacks, and three-ring binders in a dusted row on our desks. Alas, organization doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Fortunately, change is possible.
The first time I had to speak in front of a room full of my peers, I was a stuttering mess. My palms were sweaty, my mouth was dry, and I couldn’t remember a single word of my presentation. I stood there stammering for five minutes. Then I thought, “just talk about Ancient Greece!” That was my topic. So, I went off-script, blabbering about the Olympic Games, Zeus, olive oil, feta salad, Socrates, laurels, rope sandals, and anything else vaguely Greek that popped into my panicked mind. Tears started pouring down my cheeks as my friends tried to stifle giggles (unsuccessfully) in the front row. It was one of those moments that you find stamped indelibly on the narrative of your life. But, while it was humiliating, it was also motivational. I swore that I would never, ever put myself in that type of situation again, and I haven’t.
Organization is the cornerstone of success. That sounds like a fortune cookie, but it’s true. The more organized you are, the better prepared you are. Being prepared means being so fluent in your subject that you can deliver your presentation while soaking wet, at the bottom of a well, drunk, without a single note card. It means you own the material so completely that talking about it is second nature.
Everyone has different organizational predilections. Some people like to use outlines. Others memorize a script word-for-word. If you can get up in front of your colleagues with a bare-bones outline and feel ready, that’s great. But if you’re like me and you never feel prepared, even after a 24-hour memorization session with Pavlov style food treats, well, you may need to give yourself some time. Part of learning how to present comfortably is learning how you learn. I use index cards or a sheet of paper. The temptation to use technology is strong, but I find good old fashioned pen and paper keeps my head on straightest.
Take it from me: you can never be too prepared. It is always better to have more than you need. And I think it shows: knowing something forwards, backwards, upside down, and in the fourth dimension is impressive. The more you know, the more likely you are to be considered an authority, and the more likely your peers are to listen to what you have to say. It’s true in business just like it’s true everywhere else: knowledge is power.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..