Do you spend enough time getting prepared? Prepared for what? It could be the day ahead; the important client meeting, job interview, special occasion. Anything. Or do you know these things are coming up but somehow end up spending less time preparing than you thought you would, or thought you needed?
I do a bit of both. Usually successfully, but sometimes I sit there and go ‘oh damn, I really should have put a bit more effort into this’. Sometimes events and situations that appear to be straight forward, turn out not to be and you have to think on your feet. Or prepare in a different way.
I go to a lot of networking events and have prepare for each one, usually the day before, by writing my 60 seconds (if required), thinking about my goals for the meeting and making sure I have business cards with me. Just occasionally neither of these actions happen. So what do I do? Well, being the daughter of two hoarders, I usually have a stash of business cards in my handbag and wallet and keep a box of them in the car. This last one has bailed me out on numerous occasions, and helped when a casual conversation in a queue, or at a social occasion, has led to some new business.
But what about not preparing for the meeting? Well I do keep in my notebook a ‘stock’ 60 seconds that I can pull out and use. In these situations I also hope that I can do my pitch half way round th group. That way I can pick up on themes or complimentary services that I can provide. This also gives a double whammy of showing that i have listened to those before me , or understand the other skills in the group, and appreciate what they have to offer.
Some people are naturally good at preparing. My partner prepares for meetings and events weeks in advance – planning out what he needs to do each day to get ready. I find myself both in awe and dismay of this at the same time. However, whatever he is doing, he always does it well. Fail to plan, plan to fail as the old adage goes.
My problem with planning is that I used to plan for everything. I had a reputation for being prepared for things, but also felt this made me come across as inflexible – as though if circumstances changed at the last minute I resented the change after all the effort I had put in. I realised that even if you put a lot of effort into planning, most people don’t realise or appreciate it. I spent a long time trying to free myself up to e able to ‘go with the flow’ and just enjoy whatever happens next. Be in the moment. Enjoy the moment.
So now I am in a weird no-mans land of being mostly prepared and occasionally not, but then making the most of each situation. Some days I find this refreshing and congratulate myself on how I did. Some days I give myself a good telling off, and promise to do better next time.
Where are you on the preparedness scale?