Posted on 22nd March 2022 by Diana Sharp

The Importance of Preparation

The Importance of Preparation

I was recently invited to a virtual parents evening for one of my children and after digesting the positive news about my son I did find myself surprisingly frustrated and cross about something. It took a bit of time to work out what had got my back up so much and then I realised that whilst the move to virtual had been a welcome one the lack of preparation that the teachers had done was frankly scandalous.  

And I have subsequently reflected on this and realised that whilst the new world of virtual meetings everywhere is a welcome one it is only useful if all the parties at these meetings have considered the importance (and art) of effective preparation.   

In so many areas of life now (whether personal, professional, virtual or face to face) we have a very short time to communicate or understand a message. It strikes me as crucial that we are prepped and ready for those key touchpoints.  

My 5 top tips are this (and incidentally I really hope his teachers are reading!)   

1 – Prepare before the call/appointment/briefing.    

Have all the relevant information already in front of you. Know who you are going to be talking to. Don't spend 90 seconds of a 5-minute appointment finding it all.   

2 – Anticipate Questions and be ready with the answers.    

In the case of the teacher surely you know every parent’s concerns (especially in an exam year). Second guessing what the recruiter, interviewee, colleague, internal stakeholder is going to want should be relatively easy.    

3 - Keep communication concise and on point.     

If you have 5 short minutes, there isn't time to repeat the same information 4 times. (I got it the first time; he needs to do as many past papers as possible)  

4 - Small Talk?     

In a 5-minute appointment, absolutely not, there just isn't time.  Of course, if you have longer this is a great way to build rapport and connection, just remember what you are there to achieve.    

5 – Set an agenda and share it with all parties involved.  

Encourage others to add to it so you know what is going to come up. This will ensure you stay on track as well as meet your objectives in the time available.    

I am sure that, like me, you know that virtual meetings are a fantastic outcome of the pandemic. No more rushing to meetings, struggling to park, panicking because you are now a few minutes late only to find that your appointment is running late.    

However, if they are to be effective then preparation is paramount to their success.   

Diana Sharp

By Diana Sharp

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