It takes a fair amount of natural talent to get to the highest levels of sports. That doesn’t mean, however, that those born with talent make it to the top. Instead, the individuals who typically “make it” are the ones who fully subscribe to concentrated practice and complete preparation.
Corporate America is no different — the vast majority of our leaders aren’t the ones with the most natural intelligence or talent. Instead, they’re the ones who put in the time on the “practice field”.
Every meeting, presentation, and interaction, after all, is a chance to improve and shape how you are perceived in the organization. Wouldn’t you practice if you had a big game coming up? Work should not be any different. Here’s your guide on how to apply these practices to your professional advancement:
Before every meeting, take a moment to evaluate the crowd/attendees and figure out their perspective. What is their role in the organization and what are their objectives? How will this message change or impact them? Are there topics the attendees are sensitive to? Be mindful and tailor your message to the audience.
Have a Game Plan
Your game plan for meetings is your agenda. Take the time to plan and prepare an agenda for every meeting and interaction. That means even preparing an informal agenda when you are having a simple one-on-one meeting with your boss, subordinates, or a coworker. This simple task will aid you in accomplishing your objectives and ensure that you cover the topics that you need to cover in the meeting. It will also demonstrate your organization skills to your colleagues.
What are the chances of you getting it perfect on the first try? Extremely low. Take the time to work out the kinks before getting in front of an audience. Practice what you are going to say before you attend the meetings. Even one simple practice run-through will help you to have a smoother delivery and more confidence.
Developing a well-rounded understanding of the business and industry as a whole takes effort and time. Schedule time to have informal catch-ups with team members in other departments. Learn what they are working on and what challenges they are encountering. Read trade magazines. Follow the industry and competitors. Meet with the data team and ask to get on the distribution lists for important reports that go out monthly/quarterly. The key here is to find as many ways as you can to get “plugged” into what is happening at your company and in its industry.
Block off 3 to 5 minutes before a meeting to get your mind right. Take a few breaths and review your game plan for the meeting. All too often we jump from meeting to meeting and don’t make the mental transition ultimately undermining the quality of our attitude and performance in the next meeting.
Find a Routine
What time of day are you at your best? Does a quick walk outside help settle you? Take note of what gets you into the right frame of mind for peak performance. Ever notice that a basketball player does the same exact thing before every free throw? Routines and patterns help them get in the right frame of mind.
It can be awkward to watch or listen to yourself on tape, but if you record yourself during meetings or calls, you can review and refine your performance.
The athletes’ approach of pushing themselves every day to get better, stronger, and faster has great applications to the business world. Why are you not doing the same thing to be smarter, more effective, and well-rounded