March 4, 2019

Preparing for the Meeting

Posted in communication tagged , , , at 11:53 am by Yvonne LaRose

Preparing for a meeting, an interview, advocating for a particular cause, or making a presentation need not become a reason for fear and nervousness. It is possible to make a convincing argument regarding the topic (and not a stream of consciousness ramble) by using a few guidelines that hold true for communications both oral and written. The fear speaking with others can be handled through preparation.

Start with doing your preparation several days to a week before time to speak. What you want to do is speak with clarity. With clarity comes confidence as well as having a tone of expertise and authority. Your preparation should include the following steps:

  • Make a bullet point list of the points you want to make. This initial list doesn’t need to be in a particular order. Just get the concepts down so you can see them.
  • Then put the bullet points into a logical order. The most important first. The supporting information that provides more substance can come in the next bullet point.
  • Write out a brief explanation of the bullet points. Read it over several times to be certain the explanation is concise and coherent. This doesn’t need to be a treatise or an attempt to re-create War and Peace. It’s simply explaining the point and why it’s important.
  • Practice putting forth the information, that is, read the list and explanations aloud so you become accustomed to hearing yourself speaking your thoughts aloud.
  • Include in your practice editing down the explanations to 2-3 (or 1-2) minutes per bullet point.
  • Don’t try to memorize the list and explanations. Let the words flow in a spontaneous, conversational manner. Just know what points you want to make and why they’re important. Practice ensures success. Having note cards that contain the prioritized bullet points is an acceptable aid.

There are some things that should be done with caution.

  • Occasional anecdotes are useful. Just keep in mind that anecdotes are like illustrations in a book or story. Use them only if they have direct relevance to your point and make it more understandable. If the anecdotes don’t support the main point, don’t use them. The consequence of doing so is a stream of rambling talk that begins to lose relevance – and the audience’s attention.
  • Avoid personal stories. They can become similar to testimonials and take the presentation off track. There’s a time and place for testimonials. When you’re advocating for something or presenting to inform, educate, motivate, and persuade, it’s better to stick with the basics.
  • Indirect anecdotes are more effective because they are closer to storytelling and make the emphasis on how something affected others in some way. Those “others” could be the listener or someone with whom the listener is associated. Allow the audience to draw their own association with the information.
  • Allow the audience to ask clarifying questions because they want to know more.
  • Stay focused on the main points to be made.

Doggedly staying with the well-outlined topic is key to making a memorable presentation that has a positive effect on the audience. Doing so will also motivate the audience not only towared seeing the points and understanding them but also eager to learn more – about why they want to act and how. Start with the bullet points. Then prioritize them.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] Power – By Yvonne LaRose Preparing for the Meeting – By Yvonne LaRose You’ve Got to Start Somewhere – By Margaret O’Hanlon […]

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