Special Note: My book "Personal Balance Sheet - a Practical Career Planning Guide" just won a Gold medal in the 2008 Indie Book Awards Career Books category, and was a Finalist in the Business Books category. The book is available at Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, or if you want a copy personally signed, at www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com.
A pilot does a pre-flight check. Musicians tune their instruments. Radio announcers do a sound check. But what type of prep do you do before your performance?
Your performance can be anything from going to work every day, to going to an interview, to an important sales call, to delivering a status report on a project. Each of these activities (and others) are different, but there are underlying elements that are common to all:
- Set objectives: Before your performance, make sure that you understand the reasons for it in the first place. If you are giving a presentation, is it to inform, convince, rationalize, motivate, or to entertain? If you set specific objectives beforehand, it's more likely you'll achieve them.
- Do your homework: Make sure that you know your subject matter perfectly. This means spending time - and not just the day before.
- Set expectations: No one likes a surprise, so let everyone know what to expect. This can be done with a formal agenda, a heads-up in the hallway, or a quick email beforehand.
- Watch the clock: Respect others' time by showing up when you say you will, and not overstaying your welcome.
- Look the part: Why not make sure that your first impression is the right one? First, choose the impression you would like to create (professional, friendly, powerful, helpful, etc), and then choose clothing that reflects it.
- Focus: Unless the reason for your meeting is broad and general, laser in on your purpose; otherwise you may find yourself out of time - and a reputation for not getting to the point.
- Practice: if the meeting is that important, why not run through your notes with a colleague, do a mock interview, or maybe even record yourself beforehand?
This week's action item: Performances don't just happen at work. Our most important performances are often with our friends and family. While you don't have to do ALL of the preparation every time, try at least one new item before your performance - on the job or off.
Randall Craig is an expert on Career Development, Work-Life Balance, and Networking; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through www.PersonalBalanceSheet.com, or by email at email@example.com.
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Copyright © 2008 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: June 17, 2008
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