Success Favors the Prepared

Big meetings – and small ones! – can swing one way or the other depending on how prepared you are going into them. Setting positive habits of organization now will pay off when you need them later.

This video with Michael Polzler covers some essential tips on how you can get ready for a big day:

Presentations Can Be Small

When we think of the word “presentation” we usually picture standing at a podium with a screen behind us and an audience, but our smallest daily interactions are also presentations.

When meeting with a client, business partner, or colleague, even for just a few minutes on a quick phone call, we’re presenting our ideas to them in hopes of meeting a goal.


Rehearsal Leads to Readiness

While preparation is partly about reviewing what you want to communicate, a big part of the presentation is how you communicate it.

A good morning practice is to go over that day’s conversations (at least the ones you know are coming!) and rehearse them until you feel confident with your message and delivery.


Integrate Your Conversations

A common mistake in business is to think of presentations as being limited to the conference room, with side conversations lost to small talk. But integrating your business purpose into these impromptu or more casual discussions is a great skill to develop. You may find that some of your key deals are closed on the way to the elevator or while waiting for a taxi!

Good preparation takes practice and, much like exercising, it’s a muscle you can develop over time. Try these easy tips to get started:


1) Set a Morning Routine

Most of our morning tasks are baked into a routine, one we’ve been practicing to perfection for our whole lives. This makes morning the best time to work in some preparation!

After doing a couple of your usual early A.M. steps, add some prep work; have a notebook ready and waiting next to your coffee mug and jot down your plans for the interactions to come. This is the moment for goal setting.

  • What outcome are you hoping for the day’s conversations?
  • What’s the best way to accomplish them?

These morning mediations are your first steps towards solid preparation.


2) Get Organized

When making a presentation, you don’t want to find yourself grasping for points you had ready but forgot about on the way over.

Organize the things you’d like to communicate and any questions you have beforehand, along with any research you may need to back things up, then whittle this down to something short, simple, and orderly. If you do this work up front it’ll all be there, top-of-mind, when you’re in the moment. 


3.) Have fun!

One of the dangers of preparation is the dreaded overpreparation, when you become so boggled by all your notes, facts, figures, and rehearsal that what you’re saying sounds rehearsed. Masters of preparation will tell you the key to avoiding this pitfall is to get so comfortable with what you’d like to say that you can let it all go and think about something else until the time comes.

You’re preparing for a conversation that can evolve and sprout off in a different direction, not a scripted scene, so let it come out naturally and enjoy the moment – the company, the locale, the good feeling of work well done. When you have fun with it, your preparation will take care of the rest!