Conference Brainstorm

Prepare Before you Meet, Talk, or Click


You can be anything and do anything with enough preparation and work. To be effective in what message you want to get across to others, you must prepare. If you painstakingly prepare more than most people bother to, it will measurably improve your chances of affecting people the way you want. Some CEOs tell me that for every hour they expect to be in front of someone, they give themselves two to three hours of preparation.

(The rule of thumb of courtiers in Buckingham Palace is that “a one- minute visit with the queen requires three hours of planning.”)

Preparation increases confidence and optimism and makes you more interesting to whomever you are speaking with. People respond well to someone who is sure of what he or she wants and goes for it. Before you communicate, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish in this exchange? What are the reasons to do this—both implicit and explicit? Why should she give a darn? What is the likely outcome of this exchange?” And then, after it’s done ask, “Did I accomplish what I set out to?”