I Don’t Need to Prep. I Can Wing It.


Does your calendar look like the above? Many do.

Just yesterday I was talking with an executive about an upcoming meeting. A few minutes into the conversation, he realized, “Whoa. This is a way bigger deal than I thought.”

This is a critical week for meetings, as we’re all squeezing in more and more before holiday mania begins.

Whether you tell yourself, “I’m just too busy,” or you find yourself habitually procrastinating, you seem to end up with the same result. You’re winging it. It doesn’t matter what the opportunity is, you’re flying by the seat of your pants and hoping that it’s not that bad.

From your Tuesday lunch with a co-worker to your weekly huddle, how many missed opportunities have flown by you this month? There’s no reason to limit “good” communication for when you’re speaking to a big crowd. Every interaction matters – and that means every interaction deserves some thought beforehand (even when you don’t have much time to prep).

Here are three basic questions to help you prepare ahead of time:

1.  What’s the point? Clearly state what you’re talking about and why it matters (at Decker, we call this your “Point of View”). There’s nothing worse than sitting through a presentation or lunch conversation and finding yourself at the end asking, “What was that all about anyway?” Make sure you can easily explain what you’re talking about and why it matters. Get your listener(s) to agree.

Decker's Preparation Triangle2.  What do I want people to do?
You should be able to name the action you want your listener(s) to take. When we don’t prepare, odds are that meetings become a place to simply share information. Don’t miss the chance to drive action.

3.  What’s the benefit to them?
Notice the word, them. It’s not about you. Make them care. Phrasing the benefit is much more convincing than “please come because I really need some help.” You need to know your audience and appeal to their perspective.*

*Hint: This also works really well at home. Consider this with your family for the holidays.

Still want more in-depth tips on preparation? Check out our new book, Communicate to Influence (maybe a good thing to add to your holiday wish list?) or download a copy of the Decker Grid™.



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