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  • Writer's pictureGreg Cieply

Imprompt-Who? Do You Know What you Don't Know?

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity comes along and asks the question, is it popular? But conscience comes along and asks the question, is it right? ..." Martin Luther King Jr.

Continued from Part 1

The CEO and Molly's eyes broke as he looked at the phone on his desk that buzzed for a brief second. Molly knew he could take the easy way out.

“Thank you for meeting with me Molly,” he said. “In case no one told you, I do this with all large purchases, and I’m never wrong discerning someone’s character.”

“I’m glad to hear that, and I am certain everything I stated will come to fruition. You will not be disappointed,” Molly said confidently.

The CEO opened a manila folder, signed his name in six places, and handed the executed contract to Molly. As if on cue, Molly’s VP friend returned to escort her out.

As they walked down the hall, the song Eye of the Tiger played in Molly’s head. It was more than just a contract and another large deal. Molly had once again added to her personal bucket of meaning and purpose that she always tried to fill.

“Thanks for that little surprise,” she said half humorously to her friendly VP.

“From the looks of it, everything went well. I hope you’re not too upset with me for stepping out.”

“Not at all,” she said. “There’s a quote that says, ‘Life is 10% how you make it, but 90% how you take it.’ I agree, but I’d add that the 10% sets the stage. Without it, there’s nothing to take. Your approach was just what I needed. Thanks for your help.”

Do you know what you don’t know?

This fictional story of Molly’s impromptu situation has happened countless times to many people. Think of all the improbable situations you have found yourself in. Maybe a first date, job interview, negotiation, or argument you were having. In each case, you wanted to look good, be polished, and win the day!

Whatever your desired outcome, when you reflect on a past event you know there was one word or sentence that made the difference. Or, maybe you second-guessed yourself. Maybe you thought about if you could’ve made them laugh, cry, respect you, or trust you.

Knowing what to say on the fly can make all the difference in the world. Being prepared when an impromptu conversation arises is unbelievably important. But not everyone is equipped.

However, we all face the same dilemma with the same three choices: do we run, fight, or freeze?

Think about the last time you were put on the spot. Did you make the right choice or did you take your normal go-to move?

I tend to fight, with a smattering of freezes—probably not a good choice, as our bodies produce adrenaline when threatened. Our heart rate picks up, we sweat, and generally get anxious. The anxiety can cause us to lose our thoughts momentarily and we can make wrong decisions. Fighting also adds to more anxiety later. At least running gives us an opportunity to calm down and put things on hold.

However, most human beings are not able to function properly when such an event happens. They freeze. This can happen even if you’ve trained over and over. If you have stage fright you know exactly what I mean.

Barbra Streisand once forgot the lyrics to a song while performing in New York—refusing to perform live again for nearly three decades. Even today, she only performs live when her every word is provided by a teleprompter including her banter between songs.

You can probably recall a time in school when you weren’t paying attention and your teacher called on you to answer a question in front of the entire class—putting you in a live compromised position. How did you feel?

Next Part III...

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