Have you ever had the feeling that someone just wasn’t prepared for you? There have been a number of occasions when I’ve showed up for an event or to lead a session when it seemed as though they just weren’t expecting me. Nothing says “I’m just not that into you” like arriving to a retreat you paid for to find the hotel was more prepared for you than the host. Or, the door to the room you’re supposed to be training in at 6:30 a.m. is locked. Or, you show up to a meeting and the host is flying in the door at the last minute and winging it.
The message I received was not likely the message they intended. I didn’t like the feeling it gave me. It impacted my experience and my experience of them. They may have been able to redeem themselves by delivering a quality product, but it was an uphill climb to gain back my trust and my confidence. First impressions matter.
These experiences also gave me an opportunity to explore the ways in which I may be lacking in my own preparation with clients and others. When I reflected honestly about my level of preparation and service to my current group of clients, I could see there was some room for improvement. And that was a great gift!
I grabbed my notebook and pen and began to capture some of these insights. As I reflected on the characteristics and qualities of feeling “unexpected,” I found that there were some clients for whom I had created that experience myself. Worst of all, it was with some of my long time clients with whom I had become a little too casual, too comfortable. It was a great turning point for recognizing the power of being prepared, of making preparation a part of the experiences I create for those I lead and serve as well as those I love.
What could you do to up your preparation game? What impact would it have on the relationship? The outcomes and results? You career path? Your opportunities? What role are you playing in helping others be better prepared?
The way you prepare for any engagement, interaction or gathering will differentiate you. It’s up to you as to whether it differentiates you in a positive or a negative way.
Challenge: Take 15 minutes to think about your next presentation, meeting or important interaction. Set the timer on your phone. Answer the question “What would it look like if it worked?” and then write down all the things that come to mind. Then consider what you can do to create an experience that ensures the participants or the audience know they were expected, respected and considered during the preparation process. How can you convey that through your thoughtful and deliberate preparation?
These are the types of questions and challenges I issue regularly to my growing list of friends, fans and clients. I’d love to have you join us. I’ve created a little worksheet to help you with the process. To join my email list, receive my twice-monthly newsletter and download the worksheet, simply click here.
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