Creating your own Boilerplate for life

Recently I joined a local business networking group. It’s a good way to get to know other local businesses and exchange a few referrals. It’s also a really good support group for developing your own business strategy. One of the things we all do at this group is give a 60 second review of our business. Some people call this an elevator speech. Previously I would normally make up my 60 seconds on the fly, as I’m quite happy to ad lib and sometimes the pressure results in a few amusing points that wouldn’t have come out in a totally prepared speech.

As part of being a member of the BNI (Business Networking International) I’m entitled to some quite good training events. I’ve recently attended their new members training and during that session they also talked about how to prepare for your 60 seconds. The type of information you should be looking to cover and how to structure it best. So with my new found leaning from the course I went home and put together my 60 second speech.It really surprised me at how differently I had to write to make it work. Writing for an article to be read, is totally different to writing something that is going to be spoken out loud. I had to really simplify my language so that each word flowed into the next. Any time I practised the speech I would find a spot that I would have difficultly in saying, so I’d see if I would simplify it more. I tested the speech out on a couple of friends who helped me tweak it some more and timed me to make sure I was hitting as close as possible to the 60 seconds.

Last Friday I went to the BNI group again and used my 60 second speech. I was almost dead on the 60 seconds and had just a few seconds to ad lib at the end. I was delighted. It wasn’t the most exciting 60 seconds, but it was effective, it covered all the points and was fluid. So how does this relate to personal development you ask?

Well this type of action is a fantastic way of building your confidence in an area that you feel needs a bit of work. By giving it a format, a structure that covers everything it needs, you are giving yourself a basic template also known as a Boilerplate. The purpose of this isn’t to then use it permanently unchanged. The idea is that once you have the basic format in plate you DO change it.

Your boilerplate is your base line, your starting point, not your end point. From your boilerplate you know what must be in place, from there as you grow in confidence and your skills develop, you can adapt it. Either with some additional preparation or, if you feel daring enough, on the fly and ad lib some new bits into it each time you use your boilerplate. That way you have something to fall back on it things go a bit wry.

Have a think about some of the places you are already using a boilerplate. Maybe cooking your favourite meal, each time you make it, it’s somehow a little different. Going to the gym, you have a basic routine that you follow, but each time you go you do something else to liven it up. Even at work you may produce the same report on a regular basis but each time you do it, you find a new and more efficient way to do some part of it. By having that boilerplate, a base line to work from, you know what to do. After a while of using that base line your creative side starts to kick in.

Although having the boilerplate may initially seem a bit restrictive and even dull, it helps you put in place the foundation upon which you can build. By having the initial structure in place, your creative side is engaged, and before you know it, new ideas are flowing. You begin to tweak things here and there. If you can think about an area of your life or a task that you need to do and you are struggling with it, think about creating a boilerplate for it. Then watch it blossom into a creative and unique tool that you can flexibly use everyday.

Just for a giggle, I’ve recorded my speech onto YouTube. I still need to use it a few more times and be able to recall it without having to read my notes. The important thing is it’s a start and from there it can only get better.

ENJOY! And please do feel free to comment, I’d love to get some feed back on how to improve.