There are these women who show up so gracefully. They sort of float into the room, land in their chair and calmly get organized. She has her tea – because she already ate breakfast so now it’s time to just calmly sip a cup of tea (or coffee). She doesn’t take five bathroom breaks or look around at everyone else’s agenda or what materials she forgot, forgot to read, forgot to bring, etc. She is present, prepared and poised to start. Oh and BTW – she looks the part too.
What does it take for you to arrive gracefully too? How much time does it take to really prep? How much time does it take to review the materials? Maybe not even know them all but know that they exist. Know the general themes. Maybe have the time to think about “your thoughts” before someone asks – “does anyone have any additional thoughts?” and at that moment it’s like you’re wearing a sign that says. I haven’t read this stuff, I’m unprepared.
Recently I took a look at my calendar and found that there are regular meetings that I am totally unprepared for. Often conference calls because no one can see that I’m unprepared. But it’s known. You can tell. You can tell because I have nothing to add. NO “thoughts” on that. And at the end of the call I have not volunteered to do any task basically ensuring another conference call where I will be…unprepared.
So what does it take to arrive gracefully? Not just in your presentation but in your mind as well. Are you even there? Are you still mid text conversation with someone else? Mid email exchange?
When I think through how I’d like to present myself each day I go back and block out an hour – yes an hour – because it never takes an hour to prep. Except for when it does.
Blocking out prep time before every meeting or event where I need to be prepared. And I’m finding that although I don’t take the full hour. The full hour takes me. I grab a bottle of water, a snack, print out the documents to share and take notes, I often put on my jacket, or actually change into the shoes I keep under my desk, I mentally prepare in that hour. I close the projects that I’m working on and save them so that if my computer has an issue while I’m gone my work is still there. I straighten up my desk a bit and I go to the meeting. ON TIME. Maybe even five minutes early. Maybe.
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Originally published at stacymccormack.com