Last week here in North Carolina, we experienced an earthquake (my first), a hurricane (my umpteenth), and tornadoes (so far I’ve missed them altogether). The news media took the opportunity to fill a lot of time with the very apropos message about preparedness. Water, batteries, food, pets, documents… you name it and they had a plan for it. Most of us as listeners were very aware of how ill-prepared we actually are, and the news reports and pictures showed what a catastrophe would mean without those vital necessities. It is a costly and sometimes fatal mistake to not be prepared. The problem most of us face is that when we realize we aren’t prepared, it’s too late. We should have spent time long ago executing on the logistics and putting in the time to make us ready. But the time is now, and…

Business is no different. The storms might have a different characteristic, but the idea is the same. The time to prepare is before you have needs. When you realize the pipeline has run dry, it’s too late to think about prospecting. When you need a new employee to step in and execute on a skilled position, it’s too late to hire and train them. When you need speaking skills (you knew I’d get to that, didn’t you!), it’s too late to put in the practice time to make a convincing and impacting message. The results of ill-preparedness can be catastrophic to our businesses.

Speaking well is a skill. Anyone can become quite competent at it. But it does take work. And it doesn’t require a group, a professional, or a high-stakes speaking gig scheduled (although all those things are helpful). All it requires is effort doing the right things. You have an opportunity TODAY to get better—I guarantee it. Why not take some time to prepare and develop those skills NOW? You may need them tomorrow.

Build your skills TODAY.

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