I’ve always been useless when I’ve had to improvise in live situations.
I remember being about 14 in an art class at school. Art was the last lesson of the day, and not something we took seriously. Informally we used to call it ‘banter o’clock’.
I never liked ‘banter o’clock’, partly because I thought it was stupid, and partly because the attention would eventually turn to me.
“Crack a joke Drummond!” someone would jibe.
Of course, I never could. I was about as grumpy them as I am now, and I’ve never been able to remember one-liners.
Fast forward five years, to my first serious job interview. Except it wasn’t really an interview, but an ‘assessment day’. The first task on the assessment day was the ‘balloon situation’.
Hypothetically you’re in a hot air balloon, with the other interviewees. The balloon is crashing, and somebody has to be thrown overboard. You have 60 seconds to state your case as to why you should stay. You know, the sort of nonsense exercise they do on The Apprentice.
Guess who got thrown out of the balloon – twice.
I’ve eventually come to realise that some people need more processing time than others. I’m not uncomfortable in live situations, but I’m fairly useless when I have to improvise on the spot.
Other people are completely the opposite, and can only improvise on the spot.
I write for a living because writing increases the delay between thought and output. You get time to reflect on things, pull things together, and highlight important strands.
When it comes to telling your story, everybody has a preferred mode of production. Mine is writing, because it caters to my introvert processing tendencies. Other people choose to do live videos or presentations, and that’s fine too. If you’re most effective ‘in the moment’, you should embrace that.
If you’re selling high value products, telling your story is important. But it helps to play to your strengths too. Don’t try to force square pegs into round holes.